Trump Vows to Veto Spending Bill Over Lack of Wall Funding

‘We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries — but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!’…

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Paul Ryan/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

(Brian Murphy, McClatchy Washington Bureau) Angry House conservatives have mounted a fierce — and as of Thursday afternoon, successful — crusade to prod President Donald Trump to veto a year-end government funding bill that lacks big money for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Trump said he will not sign a Senate-passed bill, setting up the possibility of a partial government shutdown, outgoing House Speaker Paul Ryan said after a meeting with several House Republicans at the White House on Thursday.

“The president has informed us that he will not sign the bill that came over from the Senate last evening because of his legitimate concerns about border security,” Ryan told reporters in front of the White House.

The bill, passed by voice vote in the Senate Wednesday night, would fund nine Cabinet agencies and several smaller departments through Feb. 8. and avert a partial government shutdown. About 25 percent of the federal government would be out of money Friday night unless Trump signs the bill into law.

But the conservatives see the bill as their last best chance for years to get significant funding for the wall, because Democrats will run the House after Jan. 3.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., and fellow members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus took to the House floor late Wednesday, demanding that the House include $5 billion for a wall on the Southern border — a longtime Trump campaign promise.

It’s not just elected officials. Trump is facing severe criticism from conservative pundits on the internet, on Fox News and on talk radio.

Thursday morning, hours before a scheduled vote in the House, Trump was expressing displeasure with the lack of wall funding.

“When I begrudgingly signed the Omnibus Bill, (earlier this year) I was promised the Wall and Border Security by leadership. Would be done by end of year (NOW). It didn’t happen! We foolishly fight for Border Security for other countries — but not for our beloved U.S.A. Not good!” Trump tweeted Thursday morning.

But Wednesday, at a lunch with Republican senators, Vice President Mike Pence signaled that Trump would be willing to sign the bill — a sharp departure from Trump’s previous stance. In a White House meeting with top congressional Democrats last week, Trump insisted that he’d be willing to shut down the government if there was not funding for the wall.

Conservatives argue that House Republican leadership has backed down on a wall fight at least three times this year — and demanded that the Republican majority make a stand this time.

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Mark Meadows/Photo by Gage Skidmore (CC)

“Mr. President, we’re going to back you up. If you veto this bill we’ll be there,” Meadows said, concluding remarks after a dozen House Freedom Caucus members spoke on the House floor. “But more importantly the American people will be there. They’ll be there to support you. Let’s build the wall.”

Meadows kept up the strong stance Thursday.

“Today we have an opportunity to show the American people who we are. Do we stand up and fight for their interests? Or do we surrender before the hard work even starts — all for the sake of political convenience? No more excuses. No more games. Stand up and fight,” Meadows tweeted.

It’s not just the most conservative members who are opposed to the spending measure, known as a continuing resolution or CR, which does not include any money for a border wall. Rep. Richard Hudson, R-N.C., said he backed Meadows.

“A CR until Feb & no border wall funding? Give me a break,” Hudson tweeted Wednesday. “Kicking the can down the road will not secure our border. Speaker Nancy Pelosi will not support building the wall & we’ll have 0 leverage. We have a crisis on our southern border & we’ve got to fight now to get this done.”

Trump faced similar conservative blowback in late March after signing a $1.3 trillion spending bill that kept the government open, but vowed not to sign another stopgap.

Much of the criticism at that time was about runaway federal spending. That bill included $1.6 billion for border security and a huge boost for defense spending.

©2018 McClatchy Washington Bureau. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.