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Sunday 24 September 2017

House of Representatives passes 1.1 trillion dollar spending bill

The 309-118 vote sends the bill to the Senate in time to act before a midnight Friday deadline to avert a government shutdown.
The 309-118 vote sends the bill to the Senate in time to act before a midnight Friday deadline to avert a government shutdown.

The US House of Representatives has passed a 1.1 trillion US dollar bill to fund the government through to the end of September, the first significant piece of bipartisan legislation of Donald Trump's presidency.

The 309-118 vote sends the bill to the Senate in time to act before a midnight Friday deadline to avert a government shutdown.

The White House said Mr Trump will sign the measure, which gives him much of the money he sought for defence and border security but denies startup construction funding for his often-promised wall along the US-Mexico border.

The measure is the product of weeks of Capitol Hill negotiations in which Democrats blocked Mr Trump's most controversial proposals, including cuts to domestic programmes backed by both parties and new steps to punish so-called sanctuary cities.

House Speaker Paul Ryan praised the measure as bipartisan, and said the biggest gain for conservatives came as Democrats dropped long-standing demands to match Pentagon increases with equal hikes for non-defence programmes.

"No longer will the needs of our military be held hostage by the demands for more domestic spending," Mr Ryan said. "In my mind, that is what's most important here."

Democrats also backed the measure, which protects popular domestic programmes such as education, medical research and grants to state and local governments from cuts sought by Mr Trump.

"It's imperative to note what this bill does not contain," said Representative Nita Lowey of New York, lead negotiator for Democrats.

"Not one cent for President Trump's border wall and no poison pill riders that would have prevented so-called sanctuary cities from receiving federal grants, defunded Planned Parenthood, undermined the Affordable Care Act."

The White House won 15 billion dollars (£11.65 billion) in emergency funding to jump start Mr Trump's promise to rebuild the military and an extra 1.5 billion dollars (£1.1 billion) for border security - each short of Mr Trump's demands - leading the president on Tuesday to boast "this is what winning looks like".

The long-overdue bill buys just five months of funding while Mr Trump and his allies battle with congressional Democrats over spending cuts and funding for the wall, which Mr Trump repeatedly promised during the campaign would be financed by Mexico. Mexican officials have rejected that notion.

Republicans were surprised by tweets from Mr Trump on Tuesday that suggested he was initially unhappy with the measure and might provoke a government shutdown this autumn in hopes of getting his way on the wall and other demands.

AP

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