President Donald Trump is racking up his string of policy victories as Congress has reached a tentative agreement on a $1.4 trillion spending package that gives the White House flexibility to continue building border fencing, repeals Obama-era taxes and boosts funding to military and domestic programs.
The legislation would forestall a government shutdown this weekend and give President Trump $1.4 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border fence — equal to last year’s appropriation — while preserving the president’s ability to use his budget powers to tap other accounts for several times that amount.
Retired coal miners and labor union opponents of Obama-era taxes on high-cost health plans came away with big wins in weekend negotiations by top congressional leaders and the Trump White House. About 100,000 retired union coal miners will see their pensions and health care shored up in the bill.
“Taxing good healthcare plans was an asinine idea to begin with and an absolute betrayal of the trade unions,” Transport Workers Union president John Samuelsen told The New York Post.
“It’s good that the tax is gone but the fact that Obama thought it was smart to subject workers to such a tax to begin with speaks volumes about the problems with centrist Democrats,” he added.
A tax on medical devices and health insurance plans would also be repealed permanently. There will be an increase of 3.1 percent in pay next year for the troops and federal civilian employees.
For business, there’s a seven-year extension of the charter of the Export-Import Bank, which helps finance transactions benefiting U.S. exporters.
Wow! All of our priorities have made it into the final NDAA: Pay Raise for our Troops, Rebuilding our Military, Paid Parental Leave, Border Security, and Space Force! Congress – don’t delay this anymore! I will sign this historic defense legislation immediately!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 11, 2019
The budget also includes $425 million for election security, $7.6 billion to conduct the US Census, as well as a renewal of the government’s terrorism risk insurance program. Most of the provisions of the spending bill enjoy bipartisan support, including increases for medical research, combating the opioid epidemic, and Head Start and childcare grants to states.
A House vote is slated on Tuesday, Dec. 17 and the bills will be sent to the Senate for passage and President Trump’s signature ahead of Friday’s shutdown deadline.
The spending bill is one of the milestones that President Trump has made amid the Democratic-led impeachment against him, including approving of the United States Mexico Canada Agreement, reaching a preliminary trade deal with China, and confirming the 50th federal appellate court judge.
New Stock Market high! I will never get bored of telling you that – and we will never get tired of winning!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) December 16, 2019
Author: Ann Wilson