Trump set to sign spending bills, avoiding another holiday shutdown

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WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump will leave Washington on Friday without the dramatics of a shutdown crisis, approving sweeping spending bills that allow the government to operate even as they do little to address the national debt.

It wasn’t clear when Trump would sign the $1.4 trillion agreement — which was broken into two bills after Trump said he’d never sign a sweeping government spending measure again — but he has until midnight to apply his signature and keep government open.

He also plans to sign an enormous defense authorization act during a public ceremony at Joint Base Andrews before jetting to Florida for two weeks at his Palm Beach resort. The $738 billion bill grants federal employees paid parental leave and authorizes Trump’s much-touted Space Force branch of the military.

Lawmakers hammered out the packages despite partisan rancor caused by the impeachment proceedings.

Trump spent last Christmas holed up at the White House amid a partial government shutdown after he refused to sign legislation that did not include funding for his promised border wall.

This year, the measures maintain the current funding of $1.37 billion for the barrier. That’s significantly less than the roughly $8.6 billion the administration had been seeking for Trump’s signature issue.

The bills keep government funded through September 30. Among the provisions included in the package are raising the federal tobacco buying age from 18 to 21.

Both Democrats and Republicans have cited wins contained in the package. It includes a military and civilian federal worker pay raise, federal funding for election security grants and gun research, and a repeal of three health care taxes designed to help pay for the Affordable Care Act.

Trump seemed to conflate both the defense measure and the government funding package in a Friday morning tweet.

“I will be signing our 738 Billion Dollar Defense Spending Bill today. It will include 12 weeks Paid Parental Leave, gives our troops a raise, importantly creates the SPACE FORCE, SOUTHERN BORDER WALL FUNDING, repeals “Cadillac Tax” on Health Plans, raises smoking age to 21! BIG!” Trump wrote from the White House.

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