President Trump set to sign spending bill to avert government shutdown

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump said Wednesday that he will sign a spending bill to avert a looming government shutdown set to begin next week.

Speaking at the United Nations, Trump told reporters, "We're going to keep the government open."

Trump's remarks came as the House was set to vote on a bill that funds the military and many civilian agencies for the next year and provides a short-term fix to keep the government open through Dec. 7.

The bill does not pay for Trump's long-promised wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, a fact Trump calls "ridiculous."

House Speaker Paul Ryan said earlier Wednesday that he was confident Trump will sign the bill.

Ryan, a Wisconsin Republican, said he and other GOP leaders have spoken to Trump in recent days about the importance of the $854 billion bill.

"l'm confident he will sign it," Ryan told reporters. "This funds our military, this funds opioids, this does a lot of the things that we all want to accomplish together and we've had very good conversations with the president."

A vote in the House was set for Wednesday. The Senate approved the bill last week. Trump's signature would avert a partial government shutdown that would begin early Monday, weeks ahead of midterm elections that will determine control of Congress.

Neither party wants a shutdown, but Trump has made clear his frustration at the lack of additional money for the border wall, a centerpiece of his 2016 campaign. Trump, who repeatedly promised during the campaign that Mexico would pay for the wall, said last week it is "ridiculous" that Congress has yet to fully fund the project.

"Where is the money for border security and the wall in this ridiculous spending bill?" Trump tweeted last week, adding that Republicans "must finally get tough" against Democrats he said are obstructing law enforcement and border security.

Many conservatives share Trump's frustration, but the spending bill is expected to win easy approval in the House, given that leaders from both parties support it.

"I'm excited about this coming to the floor," Ryan said.

Texas Rep. Kay Granger, who chairs a defense appropriations subcommittee, said she has "a great big smile on my face" anticipating the bill's approval.

"There's really nothing more important than securing our nation and making sure it's secure, and our people in the military have the equipment and the training they need," Granger, a Republican, told reporters.

The bill "shows really major investments in our air superiority, our shipbuilding, our ground forces: the things that (military leaders and troops) need and the things they deserve," she said.

The bill includes the largest pay raise for the military in nine years - a fact Granger said was about more than money. "It's to say that we're with you and we support you," she said, referring to U.S. troops at home and abroad.

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Associated Press writer Zeke Miller at the United Nations contributed to this story.

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