Thornberry: Trump won't veto defense spending bill

By Tony Bertuca  
September 25, 2018 at 5:25 PM

House Armed Services Committee Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX) said today he is confident President Trump will not veto a massive spending bill set to be passed by the House as early as Wednesday, despite the president's frustrations over the legislation's failure to include funding for a southern border wall.

“I don't think the president will veto it,” Thornberry told reporters on Capitol Hill. “I think he'll sign it and it will be a major achievement in rebuilding the military.”

Thornberry said he understood the president's frustrations about funding the border wall, but said Trump has made military strength one of his core political principles.

“A central thrust that he has been completely consistent on from the beginning of his presidency is to rebuild the military and this is the biggest step yet toward that goal,” he said.

Thornberry also noted that the bill, should it pass the House and be signed into law by the president by Oct. 1, would be the first on-time appropriation the Defense Department has had in 10 years.

The House Rules Committee is meeting today to consider the $857 billion "minibus" spending package that, along with funding defense at $675 billion, would also appropriate money for the departments of Health and Human Services, Labor, Education and other related agencies. The full House is expected to vote on the measure as early as Wednesday. The Senate passed the bill Sept. 18.

The minibus also includes a stopgap continuing resolution to temporarily fund until Dec. 7 any government agency not currently scheduled to receive an on-time appropriation. The CR includes the Department of Homeland Security, essentially punting any partisan debate on funding for a southern border wall until after November mid-term elections.

Trump, however, took to Twitter on Sept. 20 to complain that the $875 billion minibus has no funding for a border wall, fueling concerns that he may not sign the final bill, triggering a partial government shutdown.

"I want to know, where is the money for Border Security and the WALL in this ridiculous Spending Bill, and where will it come from after the Midterms?" he tweeted. "Dems are obstructing Law Enforcement and Border Security. REPUBLICANS MUST FINALLY GET TOUGH!"

Thornberry said he didn't care if the president complained about the bill as long as he signed it.

“I want his signature on the dotted line,” Thornberry said.