Mnuchin, Mulvaney predict Trump will sign spending bill to avert shutdown
Top Trump administration officials on Thursday said they believe the president will sign a spending package the House passed this week that would avert a government shutdown at the end of the month.
“I think he will sign the bill,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said at an event in Washington, D.C., hosted by The Hill newspaper.
President Trump indicated Wednesday he’d likely sign it, saying that “we’re going to keep the government open.”
White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said earlier Thursday he thinks the president can be taken at his word that he won’t close the government.
Mr. Mulvaney, appearing on CNBC, did say that a lack of border security money in the legislation is a “problem” and that there’s more work to be done in the post-election “lame duck” session of Congress.
The president has pushed for $5 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall and border security efforts in next year’s spending legislation. That’s in line with the House’s homeland security spending bill, but well above the $1.6 billion the Senate version provided.
But if the president signs the $854 billion spending bill that funds the Pentagon and other key departments for a full year, the border wall debate would get kicked into early December.
The House on Wednesday passed the bill, which funds the Departments of Defense, Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education for all of 2019. It also provides stopgap funding for the rest of the government including the Department of Homeland Security until at least Dec. 7.
Lawmakers had long signaled that they would likely rely on short-term funding to keep homeland security and several other departments running in order to kick the more divisive spending debates past the 2018 campaign season.
The House passed the bill on a 361-61 vote after the Senate passed it last week 93-7.
Last week, the president also signed a $147 billion funding package that provides full-year funding for energy, water, veterans affairs, military construction, and legislative branch programs.
That bill and the Defense-social services bill make up about three-quarters of federal discretionary spending for next year.