POLITICS — Trump accepts deal to reopen the government that he could have accepted a month ago

The White House has reached a short-term deal with congressional leaders to end the partial shutdown that has lasted nearly 36 days, President Donald Trump announced Friday afternoon — essentially agreeing to the same deal to reopen the government that both chambers passed in late December.

Speaking to reporters in the Rose Garden, the president endorsed a three-week continuing resolution that would fund the government through February 15. Congress will then debate a border security plan as part of a broader Homeland Security funding bill.

The three-week deal notably does not include any funding for Trump’s proposed U.S.-Mexico border wall, the issue that triggered the shutdown on December 21 and has left Congress at an impasse for the past month.

“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said Friday. “As everyone knows, I have a very powerful alternative but I didn’t want to use it at this time. Hopefully it will be unnecessary.”

Trump appeared to be referring to his earlier threat to declare a national emergency along the southern border, in order to divert funding for a border wall.

The president then thanked federal employees affected by the shutdown, falsely claiming many of them had supported his demands for border wall funding.

“I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly or as soon as possible,” Trump added Friday. “It’ll happen fast.”

Since the start of the shutdown over the border wall, nearly 800,000 federal workers have been furloughed or forced to work without pay, many of them turning to food banks, selling their belongings, and draining any savings they had to make ends meet. Though many will receive backpay, contractors who continued to work with shuttered government agencies will likely receive no such recourse.

The move also comes hours after multiple major airports across the country were experiencing delays of more than an hour due to shortages in federal air traffic controllers. Many workers have said they are unable to make it to work, due to financial limitations as a result of the shutdown.

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Image credit: Gage Skidmore

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