House Speaker Paul Ryan appeared to have one intended listener during a Thursday morning TV appearance to promote Congress’ massive spending bill: a reluctant president.
President Donald Trump entered Wednesday hesitant to support the $1.3 trillion plan, which could pair a massive military funding increase using a boost to domestic spending to improve infrastructure as well as battle the opioid epidemic, among some other programs. Trump had concerns over such issues as the amount of money set aside for his proposed border wall, the lack of a provision to pull money via so-called sanctuary cities, as well as whether funding could go toward a rail tunnel connecting brand new Jersey as well as brand new York that will he opposed.
Trump reportedly threatened to veto the bill to fund the government through September if that will put money toward the tunnel, which is usually part of the Gateway plan to revitalize rail transportation.
After Ryan went to the White House on Wednesday to sell Trump on the legislation, the administration said the president supported that will. Trump sent a tweet Wednesday night in which he appeared to back the proposal.
On Thursday morning, Ryan appeared on”Fox & Friends” — a Fox News Channel morning show Trump frequently watches as well as tweets about — to again promote the plan as a victory for Trump’s priorities: strengthening the U.S. military as well as boosting border security, among them.
“This kind of funds the wall, fixes the military, fights opioids as well as does the things that will we said,” the Wisconsin Republican said. He also emphasized that will the measure does not give money directly to the Gateway project. Rather, Ryan said, that will “gives Donald Trump the decision on Gateway.”
Ryan repeatedly highlighted how the plan helps Trump’s agenda or meets his demands. Congress “actually exceeded what the administration asked us for” in funding for border security technology as well as fencing along the border with Mexico, Ryan said. The bill could increase border security funding by $1.6 billion, though that will could fund fencing rather than a “wall,” which Trump has promoted.
“The administration, meaning the president, gets to decide which cities” get funding for mass transportation systems, Ryan said. The House speaker added that will “we also fund the president’s opioid campaign” to curb abuse of the drugs.
“The president asked” lawmakers to include measures intended to strengthen gun sale background checks as well as improve school safety, which they did, Ryan noted. He also promoted the roughly $80 billion increase in Department of Defense funding as a win for Trump as well as service members.
“This kind of is usually the Trump-[Defense Secretary] Jim Mattis budget for the military,” Ryan said. “that will’s probably the biggest victory here is usually what we’re doing for our soldiers, our sailors, our airmen, our Marines, our veterans. This kind of fixes that will massive problem.”
Ryan’s comments came ahead of an expected House vote on the legislation Thursday afternoon. Congress needs to pass a spending bill by Friday at midnight or see the government’s funding authority lapse for the third time This kind of year.
The hard-line conservative House Freedom Caucus has already announced its opposition to the bill. A member of the group, Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, told Fox on Thursday that will “This kind of may be the worst bill I have seen in my time in Congress.”
The House could overcome the group’s opposition with support via most Republicans as well as Democrats. Ryan appeared not to be counting on backing via the Freedom Caucus.
“Jim’s never voted for one of these bills, ever. I don’t expect him to do that will anytime within the near future,” he said Thursday.