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White House Threatened Veto Over One Part of Spending Bill

Democrats added a 45-day limit on releasing future Ukraine aid
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 21, 2019 8:00 AM CST

(Newser) – President Trump's aides told Congress this week that the president would veto the $1.4 trillion spending package passed Thursday if it came with a provision requiring him to release future aid to Ukraine quickly. Without a spending bill in place, the government could have shut down this weekend. The wording was left out of the package, the Washington Post reports, and Trump signed it Friday night. The legislation includes $250 million for Ukraine's defense and originally required that Trump release the money within 45 days. That kicked off a round of negotiations. "We made crystal clear that no restriction on the president’s apportionment powers would be acceptable to him regardless of topic," a White House aide said.

The insert came from House Democrats, but it predated Trump's previous delay in sending money to Ukraine. Handing of federal aid to Puerto Rico and of congressional appropriations in general by the Office of Management and Budget prompted its inclusion, per the Post. The White House argued that the provision hampered executive authority, per CNN, and Democrats conceded. The issue was one of dozens that had to be resolved before the legislation was passed and signed, aides said. ("This is embarrassing," one senator said of the huge spending package.)

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