US President Donald Trump has described North Korean leader Kim Jong-Un as a ‘smart cookie’.
THE US Congress has approved a $1.16 trillion (A$1.54 trillion) spending bill to fund the government through to September, with an extra $25 billion (A$33 billion) for the military as tensions ramp up with North Korea.
Leaders unveiled the bipartisan deal on Monday which includes the compromise of extra military spending called for by President Trump, but ignores his demands to fund a border wall with Mexico.
The agreement was struck late Sunday after weeks of tense negotiations that saw the threat of a government shutdown emerge just as Trump was to mark his 100th day in office.
Congress is expected to vote this week on the new bill, which provides $1.163 trillion (A$1.54 billion) in overall federal spending, ahead of a Friday night deadline when government funding would expire in the absence of a new agreement.
The leaders in the Republican-controlled Congress will need support from Democrats in the Senate in order to pass the legislation. The opposition party has hailed the spending bill as a victory because it includes no money for Trump’s border wall.
Trump made building the wall along the southern US border with Mexico one of the primary pledges of his presidential campaign, insisting it would begin within his first 100 days, a milestone that came and went on Saturday.
But Republicans are pleased because the bill adds some $1.5 billion (A$1.99 billion) in funding for other security efforts along the nearly 3,218-kilometer border, and boosts military spending.
Of the trillion dollars in the bill’s discretionary spending, $598.5 billion (A$794 billion) is slated for defence — an increase of $25 billion (A$33 billion), or 4.5 per cent, above fiscal year 2016 levels.
The deal makes America “stronger and safer,” House Speaker Paul Ryan said in statement, because “it acts on President Trump’s commitment to rebuild our military for the 21st century and bolster our nation’s border security to protect our homeland.” The measure adds $2 billion (A$2.65 billion) in new funding for the National Institutes of Health.
It also maintains 99 per cent of federal spending for the Environmental Protection Agency. Trump had proposed slashing EPA funds by more than 30 per cent, a cut that would have led to thousands of job losses and reduced critical programs like grants for public water systems.
The agreement would keep federal operations running through September 30, the end of the fiscal year.
Negotiators in the U.S. Congress reached a deal late on Sunday on around $1 trillion in federal funding that would avert a government shutdown later this week, while handing President Donald Trump a downpayment on his promised military build-up.