Trump touts $738B defense spending bill

President Trump signed a $738 billion defense spending bill on Friday to avoid a government shutdown before the holidays.

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The Senate approved the partisan spending bill, which will fund a U.S. Space Force and paid parental leave, on Wednesday with an 86-8 vote. The money is for the 2020 budget year, which began Oct. 1.

The legislation includes "12 weeks Paid Parental Leave, gives our troops a raise, importantly creates the SPACE FORCE, SOUTHERN BORDER WALL FUNDING, repeals 'Cadillac Tax' on Health Plans, raises smoking age to 21! BIG!" the president tweeted earlier in the day.

Legislators deliberated over different versions of the bill for nearly three months before agreeing to a final version days before Congress leaves until the new year.

The bill, which is part of a  $1.4 trillion government-wide spending package, includes funding for 12 weeks of paid parental leave cheered by both Democrats and Republicans as one of first daughter Ivanka Trump's most significant objectives since she took on her role as senior adviser to the president in 2017.

It also includes a provision to repeal an offset penalty in military survivor benefits called the "widows tax," which subjects certain military families to losses of nearly $1,000 per year if they qualify for payouts from two separate benefit programs, as the Military Times has reported. Both additions to the bill are seen as big wins for Democrats.

White House adviser Ivanka Trump speaks on Oct. 3, 2019, in Dallas, Texas, after Google announced it is committing to a White House initiative designed to get private companies to expand job training. (Photo by Ron Jenkins/Getty Images)

The president has been promoting the idea of an official U.S. Space Force as part of the U.S. Air Force since March 2018, when he first spoke publicly about the idea.

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In total, the bill will put $635 billion toward the Pentagon budget, $23.1 billion toward the Energy Department's nuclear weapons programs, $71.5 billion toward war spending and $5.3 billion toward emergency natural disaster relief for damaged military bases, Politico reported.

2020 presidential candidate Bernie Sanders, who did not vote on the bill, published an op-ed in the Washington Post on Monday opposing the expensive spending plan.

Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., speaks during a Democratic presidential primary debate Thursday, Dec. 19, 2019, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

"I find it ironic that when I and other progressive members of Congress propose legislation to address the many unmet needs of workers, the elderly, the children, the sick and the poor, we are invariably asked, 'How will we pay for it?' Yet we rarely hear that question with regard to huge increases in military spending, tax breaks for billionaires or massive subsidies for the fossil fuel industry," he wrote.

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"The time is long overdue for us to take a hard look at military spending, including the 'war on terror,' and whether it makes sense to spend trillions more on endless wars, wars that often cause more problems than they solve," he continued.

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