Beyond 100 days, Trump faces more legislative challenges
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump would get additional military funds, but no border wall dollars under a massive spending bill that Congress agreed to Sunday night.
The $1 trillion plus spending agreement — which would fund virtually every federal agency through September — came just after Trump marked 100 days in office without any significant legislative wins. The bill does not deliver everything the White House sought, but it would be the first major piece of bipartisan legislation to advance during Trump’s time in the White House.
The House and Senate have until Friday at midnight to pass the measure to avert a government shutdown.
Trump has spent his first 100 days coming to terms with the slow grind of government even in a Republican-dominated capital, and watching some of his promises —from repealing the nation’s health care law to temporarily banning people from some Muslim nations — fizzle.
The spending measure funds the remainder of the 2017 budget year. Aides to lawmakers involved in the talks announced the agreement after weeks of negotiations. It denies Trump a win on his oft-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, but gives him a down payment on his request to strengthen the military and funding for additional border security measures.
Despite a renewed White House effort push, the House did not vote last week on a revised bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Health Care Act.
After the original effort failed to win enough support from conservatives and moderates, Republicans recast the bill. The latest version would let states escape a requirement under Obama’s 2010 law that insurers charge healthy and seriously ill customers the same rates. The overall legislation would cut the Medicaid program for the poor, eliminate fines for people who don’t buy insurance and provide generally skimpier subsidies. Critics have said the approach could reduce protections for people with pre-existing conditions.
But during an interview with “Face the Nation” on CBS aired Sunday, Trump said the measure has a “clause that guarantees” that people with pre-existing conditions will be covered.
Trump said: “Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I just watched another network than yours, and they were saying, ‘Pre-existing is not covered.’ Pre-existing conditions are in the bill. And I mandate it. I said, ‘Has to be.’”
Trump said during the interview that if he’s unable to renegotiate a long-standing free trade agreement with Mexico and Canada, then he’ll terminate the pact.
He also spoke about tensions with North Korea. Asked about the failure of several North Korean missile tests recently, Trump said he’d “rather not discuss it. But perhaps they’re just not very good missiles. But eventually, he’ll have good missiles.”
Trump also said he is willing to use the trade issue as leverage to get China’s help with North Korea. “Trade is very important. But massive warfare with millions, potentially millions of people being killed? That, as we would say, trumps trade.”
And he acknowledged the presidency is “a tough job. But I’ve had a lot of tough jobs. I’ve had things that were tougher, although I’ll let you know that better at the end of eight years. Perhaps eight years. Hopefully, eight years.”
Also this week, the president will welcome Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas to the White House. And he’ll head to New York City on Thursday where he’ll visit the USS Intrepid to mark the 75th anniversary of a World War II naval battle.
On Sunday morning, Trump headed to Trump National Golf Club in Virginia. The White House did not immediately clarify whether he was holding meetings or golfing.
Trump marked his 100th day in office Saturday with a rally in Harrisburg, where he continued to pledge to cut taxes and get tough on trade deals.
“We are not going to let other countries take advantage of us anymore,” he said Saturday in Harrisburg at the Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex and Expo Center. “From now on it’s going to be America first.”
Trump’s rally Saturday night in Harrisburg offered a familiar recapitulation of what he and aides have argued for days are administration successes, including the successful confirmation of Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, his Cabinet choices and the approval of construction of the Keystone XL pipeline.
Associated Press writer Andrew Taylor contributed to this report.