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25 Jan, 2019 19:18

Trump announces deal ending longest-ever government shutdown

Trump announces deal ending longest-ever government shutdown

US President Donald Trump has announced a deal to reopen the government after more than 34 days, the longest shutdown in US history – without getting a commitment for his proposed border wall.

“In a short while, I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks,” he said on Friday in the White House Rose Garden, adding that lawmakers would work over this time on a more permanent solution to the border crisis. Trump said he believed that Democrats and Republicans are willing to put their partisanship aside to put the security of the American people first.” 

The president thanked federal workers and their families for their devotion in the face of hardship.”  Some 800,000 government employees were left without their paycheck for a month with many still having to work.

Although Trump didn't reveal any details of the deal, he talked extensively in his address about the proposed border wall, giving arguments for its construction.

The president expanded on the acts that may be committed by criminals coming into the country over the border, from dealing drugs to assaults on women. He said that cartels, transnational gangs, and human traffickers are “brazenly violating US laws and terrorizing innocent communities.”

If Congress does not produce a fair deal over the next three weeks, Trump said, the government will either shut down again on February 15, or he will use the emergency powers given to him by the Constitution to address the emergency on the border.

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Following the president’s speech both House Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) said on the Senate floor they would work together, focusing on areas where both parties are in agreement.

In a press conference on Friday afternoon, Schumer and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-California) thanked Democrats for standing firm, and said they hoped Trump had “learned his lesson” from the shutdown. Though Schumer said that Democrats are still “firmly against the wall,” Pelosi did not explicitly rule it out, focusing instead on her earlier proposals for more technology at ports of entry.

Reacting to Trump’s announcement, both the president’s critics and supporters were in agreement that it was a capitulation to the Democrats.

Trump said he would “own the shutdown” during the talks with congressional Democrats in December. After the Senate Democrats blocked the proposal approved by the Republican-led House giving $5.7 billion for the wall, the government entered a partial shutdown on December 22. At over 34 days, it is the longest-ever interruption of government services in US history.

During the shutdown, Trump toured the border, addressed the nation from the Oval Office, and even had a draft of the emergency declaration prepared – according to reports – but decided not to use it.

Democrats have repeatedly vowed they will never authorize any funding for the border wall, ever. Pelosi (D-California) went so far as to dis-invite Trump from delivering the State of the Union speech until the government reopens. Trump’s proposed compromise, which would include a wall “downpayment” in exchange for some protections for immigrants brought into the US illegally, was shot down before it was made public.

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