- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 22, 2018

President Trump complained about the “waste” in the new spending bill, but his team said Thursday the $1.3 trillion measure is actually a significant win for his agenda.

“Is the president going to sign the bill? The answer is yes. Why? Because it funds his priorities,” said Mick Mulvaney, the White House budget director.

Some conservatives are in revolt over the bill, both over the size and composition of the spending and the lake of major ideological policy wins. Democrats, meanwhile, cheered their ability to knock out most of those GOP policy “riders,” but complained about 33 miles of new border wall.

Mr. Trump himself, on Twitter, said the bill “had to waste money on Dem giveaways” in order to strike a deal.

The White House said the bill reflected those tradeoffs, saying that if Republicans didn’t have to contend with Democrats’ filibuster powers in the Senate, the legislation would have looked different.

“We don’t control all of the government,” Mr. Mulvaney said.

He said if Mr. Trump had written the bill, there also would have been protections for illegal immigrant “Dreamers.”

He blamed Democrats for scuttling those talks, speculating that they are angling for a political issue rather than looking for a solid legislative outcome.

Mr. Mulvaney also said the White House did offer a three-for-three deal, to include three years of protections for those under the Obama-era DACA program in exchange for three years of funding for Mr. Trump’s border wall.

Earlier, the White House had forcefully rejected that kind of deal.

“The White House opposes a so-called three for three deal,” spokesman Raj Shah had said last week.

Mr. Mulvaney defended the immigration-related money that is in the bill, though he acknowledged the measure still funds sanctuary cities, defying Mr. Trump’s demand.

He said they got 110 miles of new wall or fencing. Members of Congress say the number is 95.

Of that, 33 miles is new — eight miles of pedestrian fencing in Texas and 25 miles of levy wall, also in Texas.

Mr. Trump had asked for an additional 27 miles of new wall that Congress rejected.

Marc Short, the White House’s chief liaison to Congress, said what they did get was still a victory, particularly since the fiscal year is already nearly six months old and the new money only covers the next six months.

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