Trump announces deal to open up government for three weeks
President Donald Trump announced Jan. 25 he and congressional leaders had reached agreement to reopen the government for three weeks, during which there will be negotiations about whether to build new physical barriers, apparently either of concrete or steel, on the U.S.-Mexico border.
“We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden.
The agencies closed during the partial shutdown have included the Agriculture Department, the Food and Drug Administration and the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Cabinet officials present in the Rose Garden included Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue, according to a White House press pool report.
Trump said if Congress does not agree by February 15 to fund a border barrier the government will close again or he will use his powers to declare a national emergency to build the wall.
In his remarks, Trump said he wants to stop illegal immigration, but acknowledged that farmers need immigrant workers.
The Washington Post said the House and the Senate would vote on the measure, but did not say when. Fox News said that both the Senate and the House are expected to vote on the bills by voice vote this evening.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said in a floor speech after Trump’s announcement that funding for the Homeland Security Department, which is in charge of the border, will receive priority “over consideration of any other legislation.”
Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y., said on the Senate floor that the Senate would pass “a clean three-week continuing resolution to reopen the government.”
“Also we will pass legislation in the Senate related to the Department of Homeland Security so the House and Senate can participate in a conference committee on that legislation,” Schumer said. “In the conference Democrats and Republicans will have the opportunity to negotiate the details of the Homeland Security bill which includes issues of border security, humanitarian aid, drug inspection technology and many others.”
ABC News said federal workers could be back on the job on Monday. Trump has signed a bill that says the furloughed employees are supposed to receive their pay back immediately upon the reopening of the government.
There has not been an announcement about whether Trump will deliver the State of the Union speech in the House chamber on Tuesday as originally scheduled. Pelosi said earlier that the House would not vote on a measure authorizing use of the chamber for the speech if the government was still shut down.
Analysts said the announcement was a victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., because Trump had said he would not reopen the government without a deal to build the wall.
Senate Appropriations Committee ranking member Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., said in a statement, “For 35 days, President Trump has robbed hundreds of thousands of American families of their paychecks, forcing dedicated public servants to turn to foodbanks and unemployment benefits to feed and support their families.”
“For 35 days, President Trump denied millions of taxpaying Americans access to public services. For 35 days, President Trump has inflicted pain on the American people and compromised our national security.
“And for what? All of this pain and suffering to end where we began. On Dec. 19, the Senate passed a bill by voice vote to fund the government to Feb. 8 — nearly what the president has proposed today — only for President Trump to break his word and precipitate this national crisis.
“The Trump shutdown should have never happened, and it should have never dragged on for 35 days. I hope that the president has learned that Congress is a coequal branch of government, and the American people are not pawns to be played with in his political games.
“I look forward to continuing my bipartisan work with Chairman [Richard] Shelby [R-Ala.] to make responsible investments in the American people and border security, and I pray that President Trump does not repeat this national embarrassment again. Let us promptly vote to reopen the government and end this national nightmare.”
The announcement occurred on the same day that traffic was slowed at several East Coast airports because not enough air traffic controllers showed up for work.
Polls also showed that Trump’s approval rating has gone down due to the shutdown. ❖