President Donald Trump yesterday signed into law a sweeping defence policy bill that authorises a $700-billion budget for the military, including additional spending on missile defence programmes to counter North Korea’s growing nuclear weapons threat.
But there’s a catch. The $700-billion budget won’t become reality until lawmakers agree to roll back a 2011 law that set strict limits on federal spending, including by the Defense Department and they haven’t yet.
The law caps 2018 defence spending at $549 billion.
Before he signed the bill at the White House, Trump called on Congress to “finish the job” and eliminate the cap on defence spending.
“I think it’s going to happen,” said the president, joined by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford and other senior military leaders. “We need our military. It’s got to be perfecto.”
He urged Democrats in Congress to quit threatening to shut down the government and “send clean funding and a clean funding bill to my desk that fully funds our great military. Protecting our country should always be a bipartisan issue, just like today’s legislation.”
Temporary government funding is set to run out on December 22, the deadline for lawmakers to send the White House a broader government funding bill or risk a partial government shutdown.