Trump signs bills to avoid shutdown, scrap Obamacare taxes and raise tobacco buying age
United States President Donald J. Trump signs the Tax Cut and Reform Bill in the Oval Office at The White House in Washington, DC on December 22, 2017.
Brendan Smialowski | AFP via Getty Images
President Donald Trump signed bills Friday to prevent a government shutdown and make major changes to U.S. health policy.
The president approved the $1.4 trillion appropriations package with only hours to spare before funding lapsed Saturday. The legislation, which boosts funding for both domestic programs and the military, keeps the government running through Sept. 30.
The sprawling bills go beyond just preventing a shutdown. They scrap some taxes used to fund the Affordable Care Act, including the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost plans. They also hike the age for tobacco purchases to 21.
The package came together after Congress had to pass two short-term plans to keep money flowing to federal departments earlier this year. Lawmakers passed legislation to suspend the U.S. debt limit and set budget levels for two years, but they struggled to decide where to appropriate the money.
Negotiators ended up striking compromises on points of dispute such as Trump’s prized barriers on the U.S.-Mexico border and military funding. Congress set aside nearly $1.4 billion for the border fencing, the same amount as last year.
The bills hiked defense funding by $22 billion. It also gave both military service members and federal civilian employees a 3.1% raise.
The legislation put $25 million toward federal gun violence research and $425 million into election security grants — two priorities for Democrats. It also clears $1.5 billion for state grants to fight the opioid crisis.
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