The US government’s historic 35-day shutdown is coming to an end, after Donald Trump agreed to sign a short-term spending agreement with Congress that doesn’t include any money for the border wall that he wanted.
The deal will keep the government open until February 15, Trump said in the Rose Garden Friday (Jan. 25.) Congress, meanwhile, will form a panel to review the situation at the border, and come up with a “homeland security package” for the president to sign into law. The short-term spending bill is expected to pass the Senate today.
Exact details of how it might work were not yet available, but the agreement seems to broadly mirror proposals from the House of Representatives in recent weeks, to reopen most of the government that is shuttered and separately discuss funding for the massive Department of Homeland Security. It’s unclear whether Trump will stick by his demand for $5.7 billion to build a wall along the US’s southern border; Democrats had rejected the demand in the last Congress.
The deal is an about-face for the president, who said in a public press conference with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer on December 11 that “if we don’t get what we want…I will shut down the government.” He did just that less than two weeks later, unexpectedly refusing in late December to sign any bill without wall funding, leaving the Republican-controlled House and Senate scrambling in the last session of that Congress.
The government shutdown has left some 800,000 federal workers without pay for more than a month, and forced some to pawn jewelry and rely on food banks.
On Friday, Trump called the workers “great patriots.” He thanked them for not complaining, and encouraging him to continue with his push for border security.
However, he ended his press conference with a threat. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will shut down on Feb. 15, again,” he said, “or I will use the laws afforded to me by the Constitution and the United States to address this emergency.”