The $1.3 trillion spending deal that President Trump signed on Friday expands many of President Obama’s priorities, despite the president’s previous proposals to do the exact opposite. And his base of supporters — especially those at Fox News — are extremely unhappy about it.
The omnibus spending bill passed by both houses of the Republican Congress was a loser for Trump. It does not kill any of the programs or agencies he had proposed to kill when he submitted his budget.
For example, Trump said he would eliminate:
- TIGER, a grant program for innovative transportation projects created by Obama’s stimulus bill;
- ARPA-E, an energy research agency launched by Obama’s stimulus; and
- CDBG, an Obama community development program many Republicans consider an urban slush fund.
But here is what the spending bill signed by Trump does for these programs:
- it triples funding for TIGER,
- boosts ARPA-E’s budget by 16 percent, and
- nearly doubles CDBG.
And those are not the only areas where Obama’s priorities won out over Trump’s:
- Trump wanted to slash the Energy Department’s renewables budget 65 percent from Obama levels, but instead Congress increased it 14 percent.
- Trump proposed to reduce Obama’s domestic spending $54 billion but the spending bill gives it a $63 billion increase from last year.
One puzzled commentator said about the spending bill: ”it basically extends the fiscal status quo that has prevailed since the start of Obama’s second term—plus adds a sizable chunk of new deficit spending—even though Republicans now control the legislative and executive branches.”
The frosting on the cake for Democrats (and the salt in the wound for Republicans) was when congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer, claimed the spending bill was a victory for them.
On Friday Trump had threatened to veto the bill but ended up signing it. The veto threat gave false hope to a lot of his supporters and the fact that it was an empty threat seemed to anger them more. One White House official was quoted as saying that Trump’s signing led to “the hardest I’ve ever seen the base turn on Trump over anything.”
“A big reason why people voted for him was because of his apparent willingness to stand up to the entrenched political class in both parties,” the official said. “Voters wanted a fighter who wouldn’t back down to ‘the swamp’ like a ‘typical politician.'”
Conservative commentator Ann Coulter said that the ramifications will hit the GOP in the midterms, particularly in the House. “The House will definitely flip, why would anyone vote Republican?” she said.
Here are items in the bill that make Democrats happy and Republicans mad:
- The U.S. Census saw a $1.34 billion budget increase, “double what the Trump administration requested,” CBS reported.
- It doesn’t eliminate funding to Planned Parenthood, something conservatives were betting on, according to the Daily Caller.
- The bill doesn’t “add new detention beds for undocumented immigrants,” like Trump wanted.
- Republicans failed to cut federal funds to sanctuary cities in the bill.
- The border wall Trump promised was not funded.
- The National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Endowment for the Arts, and the Legal Services Corporation were provided with “modest funding increases,” despite the plan to get rid of them.
- Trump proposed cuts to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and Pell Grants. Each of these saw an increase in funding.
- Food stamps were to be replaced with boxes but this program was not funded.
After Trump signed the spending bill, the conservative National Review reportedly denounced it as “the sort of legislation that would have been right at home in the Obama administration.”
Looking at the above list you can see why.
I am a lifelong Democrat with a passion for social justice and progressive issues. I have degrees in writing, economics and law from the University of Iowa.