- The Washington Times - Friday, August 2, 2019

President Trump quietly signed the massive new spending deal Friday, shunning the spotlight as he inked an agreement that watchdogs said will lead to trillions of dollars in new debt.

His signature gives Congress room to spend an additional $320 billion over the next two years and creates a two-year debt holiday, allowing the government to borrow and spend what it needs to keep afloat.

The deal reduces the chance of a government shutdown, though it doesn’t eliminate the risk.

The White House issued a statement acknowledging the president’s action.

The deal, which the president’s team negotiated with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, cleared the Senate Thursday, a week after passing in the House. Democrats were overwhelmingly in favor, while the GOP was split, with about two-thirds of the House Republican Caucus and nearly half of Senate Republicans opposing the president.

Conservatives argued he was abandoning his pledge to rein in the debt.

Mr. Trump had argued he needed to reach the deal to spend more money at the Pentagon. The price of those hikes was to agree to Democrats’ demands for higher domestic spending.

The quiet signing of the bill — perhaps the biggest piece of legislation to clear Congress this year — stands in contrast with the signing ceremonies Mr. Trump held for other smaller bills.

In the last month he held ceremonies to sign legislation to renew the compensation fund for first responders in the 2001 terrorist attacks, and a $4.6 billion bill to try to alleviate overcrowding at border stations.

• Stephen Dinan can be reached at sdinan@washingtontimes.com.

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