- The Washington Times - Friday, March 23, 2018

President Trump said Friday that he signed a $1.3 trillion omnibus spending bill because it was vital to rebuilding the military, but he trashed Democrats for tacking on extra spending and vowed to never again sign another budget-busting measure.

“I’ve said to Congress, I will never sign a bill like this again,” Mr. Trump said, calling the legislative process that produced it “ridiculous.”

Hours earlier, the president had threatened to veto the bill and all but guarantee a government shutdown when funding would have expired at midnight Friday.

The veto threat startled Washington, as it followed repeated assurances from White House officials, including Vice President Mike Pence and budget chief Mick Mulvaney, that the president wold sign the massive spending package.

He ultimately decided to sign the bill “because of the gains we made for our military,” said the president.

Blasting the bill he was about to sign for unnecessary spending, not fixing DACA and not fully funding a border wall, Mr. Trump demanded changes to Congress’ rules in order to make progress on vital issues.

He called for Congress to approve a line-item veto for the president and for the Senate to eliminate the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to advance most legislation.

“We’ve got to get a lot of great legislation approved and without the filibuster rule it will happen just like magic,” said Mr. Trump.

Allowing a line-item veto would require a constitutional amendment as the Supreme Court ruled the procedure is unconstitutional in the 1998 decision Clinton v. City of New York.

Mr. Trump boasted that the bill provide a historic boost to military spending, including the largest pay increase for troops in a decade. The investments, he said, made good on his pledge to rebuild the U.S. military into the most formidable fighting force in the world.

“They hollowed our readiness as a military unit and put America at really grave risk,” he said of years of defense cuts. “The omnibus bill reverses this.”

He blamed the omnibus’ huge price tag on Democrats who he said demanded extra spending in exchange for funding the military. He said the Democrats oppose military spending.

“If we take something for the military, they want something that in many cases are a wasted sum of money,” he said. “It’s not right and it’s very bad for our country.”

• S.A. Miller can be reached at smiller@washingtontimes.com.

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