President Donald Trump never promised that draining the swamp in Washington, D.C. would be easy.
But it’s doubtful even he could predict his own party stabbing him in the back.
Monday, lawmakers revealed a massive $1 trillion government spending bill that would fund Washington D.C. operations through September — and it’s being hailed as a major victory for Democrats.
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Establishment Republicans rolled over and surrendered, critics say — and denied Trump and the voters who elected him the money for a critical border wall and withheld cuts from ineffective, bloated domestic programs.
The staggering bill — a reported 1,665-pages — was agreed to on Sunday and is the product of weeks of negotiations. It was made public in the predawn hours Monday and is tentatively scheduled for a House vote on Wednesday.
The catchall spending bill is largely supported among the mainstream media, and is being hailed as the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump’s short tenure in the White House.
Despite the vocally upset Trump voters, Vice President Mike Pence said the administration “couldn’t be more pleased” and noted that it would include a boost in military spending, a “down payment” on border security and provide money for health benefits for coal miners.
“It will avert a government shutdown but more important than that, it’s going to be a significant increase in military spending,” Pence said in an interview with “CBS This Morning.”
The measure funds the remainder of the 2017 budget year, through Sept. 30, rejecting cuts to domestic programs targeted by Trump such as bloated welfare for sanctuary cities and controversial grants for liberal programs.
Successful votes later this week would also clear away any remaining threat of a government shutdown — at least until the Oct. 1 start of the 2018 budget year. Trump has submitted a partial 2018 budget promising a whopping $54 billion, 10 percent increase for the Pentagon from current levels, financed by cutting to foreign aid and other nondefense programs by an equal amount. Negotiators on the pending measure, however, rejected a smaller $18 billion package of cuts and instead slightly increased funding for domestic programs.
Democrats were quick to praise the deal.
“This agreement is a good agreement for the American people, and takes the threat of a government shutdown off the table,” said Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, a key force in the talks. “The bill ensures taxpayer dollars aren’t used to fund an ineffective border wall, excludes poison pill riders, and increases investments in programs that the middle class relies on, like medical research, education and infrastructure.”
Some Republican conservatives, however, were wary. “I think you’re going to see conservatives have some real concerns with this legislation,” Ohio Rep. Jim Jordan said on CNN, citing domestic spending obtained by Democrats and other issues. “We told (voters) we were going to do a short-term spending bill that was going to come due at the end of April so that we could fight on these very issues, and now it looks like we’re not going to do that.”
Trump said at nearly every campaign stop last year that Mexico would pay for the 2,000-mile border wall. The administration sought some $1.4 billion in U.S. taxpayer dollars for the wall and related costs in the spending bill, but Trump later relented and said the issue could wait until September.
Trump, however, obtained $1.5 billion for border security measures such as 5,000 additional detention beds, an upgrade in border infrastructure and technologies such as surveillance.
The measure is assured of winning bipartisan support in votes this week; the House and Senate have until midnight Friday to pass the measure to avert a government shutdown. It’s unclear, however, how much support the measure will receive from GOP conservatives such as Jordan and how warmly it will be received by the White House.
Democrats played a strong hand in the talks since their votes are needed to pass the bill, even though Republicans control both the White House and Congress. As a result, the measure doesn’t look much different than the deal that could have been struck on President Barack Obama’s watch last year.
GOP leaders decided against trying to use the must-do spending bill to “defund” Planned Parenthood. The White House also backed away from language to take away grants from “sanctuary cities” that do not share information about people’s immigration status with federal authorities. Trump’s request for additional immigration agents was denied and the IRS budget would be frozen at $11.6 billion.
The Associated Press contributed to this article