President Donald Trump on Friday announced a short-term deal to temporarily reopen the government, ending the longest closure in U.S. history.
The stop-gap agreement with congressional leaders will last three weeks, until Feb. 15, and would allow talks to continue over border security and a wall on the southern border. The agreement includes no new money for his wall, and is a massive concession on his behalf after refusing a similar funding package a month ago.
“In a short while, I will sign a bill to reopen the government for three weeks, until Feb. 15,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden. “I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly or as soon as possible.” The White House said later that workers will be paid within days.
Senate leaders said the government would reopen soon.
“Now that there is an agreement between the Democrats and the White House, we can make that happen,” Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said. The measure was passed by the Senate Friday afternoon and will go to the House for approval before it’s sent to Trump.
“The president has agreed to our request to open the government then debate border security,” Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., tweeted.
At least some on the right criticized Trump for coming away from the shutdown with very little at this point.
The president said he expected congressional negotiators to get him border security legislation “shortly,” but he spent much of his remarks Friday touting the benefits of a wall and he threatened to use his national emergency powers if he doesn’t get what he wants.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or a steel barrier,” Trump said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down again on Feb. 15, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”
Those rarely used powers might allow the president to use money to build the wall without receiving congressional authorization.
McConnell called on Democrats to negotiate “in good faith on a full-year government funding (bill) that would include a significant investment in urgently needed border security measures, including physical barriers.”
Trump announced the deal 35 days into the longest partial government closure in U.S. history left an estimated 800,000 federal employees without pay and created a host of problems.
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SOURCE: NBC News, Jonathan Allen, Kristen Welker, Leigh Ann Caldwell and Jane C. Timm