In the end, the military made the difference.
After roiling Washington with an early morning threat to veto the $1.3 trillion spending bill passed by the House and Senate this week, President Donald Trump on Friday signed the measure over objections from conservatives.
But he did it with a clear threat to lawmakers for the future.
With Defense Secretary James Mattis at his side, Trump announced that whatever pork was contained in the massive measure, it was worth signing it to begin reversing spending cuts to the nation’s military during the Obama administration.
“There are a lot of things that I’m unhappy about in this bill. There are a lot of things that we shouldn’t have had in this bill. But we were, in a sense, forced to if we want to build our military,” Trump said at the White House, according to The Hill.
“My highest duty is to keep America safe,” he said, in an announcement that will surely strike a chord with the nation’s vets and military families. “Nothing more important.”
— FOX Business (@FoxBusiness) March 23, 2018
Doing that requires a military that’s at the top of its game, and the bill Trump signed spends a lot of money to make that happen.
According to CNBC, the measure includes:
- $23.8 billion for 14 Navy ships
- $10.2 billion for 90 F-35 fighter jets
- $1.8 billion for 24 F/A-18 fighter jets
- $9.5 billion for the Missile Defense Agency
That’s a lot of hardware. But the military has a lot to make up for after the eight years of the Obama administration’s feckless approach to foreign policy that left the world in flames.
(Seriously, does anyone remember exactly why that guy won a Nobel Peace Prize? It was in October 2009, eight months after he took office. He barely knew where the bathrooms were in the White House.)
In an appearance on “Fox & Friends” Thursday, House Speaker Paul Ryan defended the spending plan as necessary to make up for the Obama years.
“Obama shortchanged our military, this fixes us,” Ryan said. “This is the Trump-Jim Mattis budget for the military. That’s probably the biggest victory here is what we are doing for our soldiers, sailors, our airmen, our marines and veterans.
“This fixes that massive problem.”
And providing evidence that the early Friday veto threat was intended as a jolting reminder to the lawmakers of both parties about who actually signs the budget bill, he made it just as clear that the secret negotiations and last-minute bargaining that led up to Friday’s measure won’t be acceptable in the future.
“I say to Congress, I will never sign another bill like this again,” Trump said, according to The Hill. “I’m not going to do it again. Nobody read it. It’s only hours old. Some people don’t even know what’s in it.”
Well, Defense Secretary James Mattis knows at least some of what’s in it. And for Trump and Mattis on Friday, that made the difference.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.