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15.25 23 Mar 2018


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Updated 17.45

Donald Trump has signed a US government spending bill, despite his earlier threat to veto the legislation raising the risk of a government shutdown.

The $1.3 trillion bill was narrowly passed by members of Congress this week, and is aimed at keeping the US government funded until September.

While the bill increases military spending, the bill does not reflect some of the White House’s other key priorities.

Democrats and Republicans have been at odds over two particular issues: funding for President Trump’s promised border wall with Mexico, and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) - also known as 'Dreamers' - scheme which protects around 800,000 people who entered the US illegally as children from deportation.

President Trump has repeatedly called for funding to fulfill his key campaign pledge to build the wall, while securing a new DACA deal has been a core priority for many Democrats since the Trump administration announced its plans to end the Obama-era programme last year.

The New York Times reports that the White House presented Democrats an offer to extend DACA protections in return for $25 billion funding for the wall - but the Democrats were reportedly calling for more robust protections for the young immigrants for that level of wall funding.

Although the debate around DACA was a significant factor in the two brief government shutdowns earlier this year, court decisions temporarily extending the protections have reduced some of the previous urgency surrounding the issue.

The final bill agreed by Congress largely sidesteps the the issues of DACA and the border wall, although allows $1.6 billion for increased border security.

Veto threat

White House officials initially said President Trump intended to sign the bill, but on Friday morning the US leader took to Twitter to suggest he was considering vetoing the bill.

However, in a press conference this afternoon he announced he would in fact sign the bill.

He said: "There's a lot of things I'm unhappy about in this bill... there are a lot of things we shouldn't have in this bill... but we were in a sense forced if we want to build our military."

He added: "I say to Congress I will never sign another bill like this again. I'm not going to do it again - nobody read it... it's only hours old."

Congress agreed the bill ahead of a two-week recess, with many lawmakers having since left Washington.

However, Republican senator Bob Corker had urged the US President to veto the bill, describing the legislation as 'totally irresponsible'.


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