Trump backs down on threat to shut down government

Donald Trump.
Donald Trump. Photo credit: Reuters

US President Donald Trump says he has signed Congress' massive US$1.3 trillion spending Bill into law, funding the government through September 30 and averting a shutdown hours before funding was scheduled to lapse.

The signing came on Friday hours after Mr Trump had threatened to veto the measure.

It includes large increases in military and non-defence spending, and ends congress' long struggle to fund federal agencies since last (northern) autumn and allows lawmakers to now focus on November's midterm congressional election.

In a tweet on Friday morning, Mr Trump said he was displeased about immigration issues in the Bill, even though the White House had given assurances on Thursday that he would sign it.

"I am considering a VETO of the Omnibus Spending Bill based on the fact that the 800,000 plus DACA recipients have been totally abandoned by the Democrats (not even mentioned in Bill) and the BORDER WALL, which is desperately needed for our National Defense, is not fully funded," Mr Trump wrote.

At the White House on Friday, many aides were caught by surprise by the veto threat and had no immediate explanation for what prompted it. Mr Trump was scheduled on Friday to fly to Florida for a weekend at his private resort.

After passing the measure, lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives, which both are dominated by Mr Trump's fellow Republicans, left Washington for a scheduled two-week spring recess.

"The government will only shut down if President Trump vetoes this bipartisan Bill," Democratic Senator Chris van Hollen said in an interview on MSNBC. "No one's being fooled by the President's claim."