Trump signs bill to avoid government shutdown

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President Donald Trump shares a laugh with (clockwise from left) Ms.Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Secretary Tom Price, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday, March 14, 2017, in the Oval Office of the White House. SOURCE: White House/Shealah Craighead/Instagram

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a massive spending package that funds a large section of government and averts a shutdown, a White House aide confirmed.

The signing, which was scheduled to occur in private at noon on Friday, was done in the Oval Office and several lawmakers were present, the aide added.

The bill includes a continuing resolution that will fund remaining unfunded parts of government until December 7.

There was some uncertainty over whether the President would sign the appropriations bill, and top congressional Republicans made clear to the President that the political fallout of a shutdown, even a small one, would be potentially devastating ahead of the midterm elections.

The President was sending mixed signals over whether he would sign the bill because of its lack of money for his signature campaign promise of a border wall. As recently as six days ago, Trump tweeted a demand to know where the money is for a border wall in what he called this “ridiculous” spending bill. “REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!”

However, Trump suggested Wednesday that he would approve it, saying at the end of a meeting, “We’ll keep the government open.”

This spending package, which totals to $855 billion, is not just the continuing resolution. It is also the defense appropriation bill — i.e. the funding (at a significant increase) for the Pentagon. It also includes the Labor, Health and Human Services and Education funding bills.

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