Trump Announces Deal With Lawmakers to End Government Shutdown

By Reuters
January 25, 2019Politics

WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said on Jan. 25, that he has reached a tentative agreement with lawmakers for three weeks in stop-gap funding that would end a partial U.S. government shutdown now in its 35th day, with a senior Democratic aide saying money the president demanded for a border wall is not included.

The president had previously insisted on the inclusion of $5.7 billion to help pay for a wall along the vast U.S.-Mexico border in any legislation to fund government agencies.

President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown
President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, on Jan. 25, 2019. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said in remarks in the White House Rose Garden.

“In a short while, I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks until Feb. 15. I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly, or as soon as possible,” Trump said.

With the effects of the shutdown spreading on Friday, Trump said a bipartisan congressional conference committee would meet to come up with a plan for border security.

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The shutdown began on Dec. 22 and idled some 800,000 government employees. A wall-funding demand was blocked but Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, rejected on the grounds that a wall would be costly, ineffective, and immoral. Trump, whose Republicans have a majority in the Senate, has said it is necessary to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking.

The arrangement, which would require passage in the House and Senate and Trump’s signature, would leave his request for wall funding for later talks, a House Democratic aide said. The House could pass the measure as soon as Friday if Republicans agree to hold a vote, the aide said.

A Senate Republican aide said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell was expected to press for passage of a three-week funding bill on Friday.

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Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) walks between his office and the Senate floor on Dec. 21, 2018 in Washington, DC.(Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

“We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea. We never did,” Trump said. “We never proposed that. We never wanted that because we have barriers at the border where natural structures are as good as anything that we could build.

“Our proposed structures will be in predetermined, high-risk locations that have been specifically identified by the Border Patrol to stop illicit flows of people and drugs,” Trump said.

Funding at Last Year’s Levels

The temporary funding bill would extend agency funding at the last fiscal year’s levels and would include some money for border security, but not a wall.

On Thursday, a bill backed by Trump to end the shutdown by including the $5.7 billion he wants for partial wall funding and a separate bill supported by Democrats to reopen shuttered agencies without such funding did not get the votes required to advance in the 100-member Senate.

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters on Thursday the possibility of legislation that includes a large down payment on a wall, “is not a reasonable agreement.”

By Steve Holland and Richard Cowan

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