Trump Bends The Knee! The Shutdown is Over

25 Jan, 2019

President Donald Trump said Friday he will support an agreement to end the partial government shutdown that does not include border wall funding, likely marking a close to the longest lapse in government services in U.S. history.

“We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” he said.

Trump’s decision, which he announced during a hastily arranged address in the White House Rose Garden, came amid mounting pressure from members of Congress to end the impasse. That pressure only built Friday as airports along the East Coast reported delays due to a lack of air traffic controllers.

The deal, hammered out during negotiations with Senate leaders, would reopen the government for three weeks and does not include money for Trump’s proposed border wall. Democrats have flatly rejected funding for the wall until the government reopens.

Trump hinted at the possibility, once again, of declaring a national emergency to find money for his  proposed border wall if Congress does not reach an agreement on that issue.

“I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time,” Trump said.

Competing measures to reopen the government failed in the Senate on Thursday, setting off a flurry of negotiations and injecting a sense of urgency into the talks that had been missing since nine federal departments closed last month. The idea of a short-term measure to reopen the government for three weeks emerged as part of those discussions.

Trump sought to declare victory, but he still endorsed a temporary spending plan with no wall funding. The question of wall funding remains open, however, and the reopening is only until Feb. 15.

Trump said a special committee will work on an overall border security plan as the government is reopened. “The wall should not be controversial,” he said.

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress,” he said, “the government will either shut down on Feb. 15, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution … to address this emergency.”

Trump continued to stump for his border wall, saying Democrats have backed wall funding in the past. He also played down the scope of his plan, saying his wall would not be built coast-to-coast, and could just as easily be steel slat fencing.

Following Trump’s speech, lawmakers on Capitol Hill expressed optimism that the shutdown would soon be over.

‘Now that there’s an agreement between Democrats and the White House, we can make that happen,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., said he expects the deal to clear Congress and be signed into law by Trump on Friday.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., a conservative who played a critical role in the president’s decision to shut down the government, backed Trump’s decision to support the deal, putting pressure on Democrats.

“Democrats now have yet another opportunity to come to the table and negotiate, where all Americans will be able to judge for themselves whether they’re truly serious about securing our border,” Meadows said in a statement released by his office.

Some Republicans were dismayed by the turn of the events.

“Trump’s base will not look kindly on this cave, even if Trump’s hand was forced,” said Texas-based political consultant Matt Mackowiak. “Democrats were never going to negotiate while the government was closed and they paid no price for doing so.”

He added: “The only advantage the Trump White House has is a three week clock on the negotiation for a broader deal. In the end, many will look at this entire episode as pointless.”

The push to end the shutdown grew more urgent on Friday after the FAA halted flights coming into New York’s LaGuardia Airport because of staffing shortage and other delays reported at airports in Boston, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.

 Also Friday, some 800,000 federal employees who have been on unpaid leave or working without pay missed their second paycheck since the shutdown began.

USA Today

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