No border wall funding: Trump agrees to end government shutdown


President Trump said Friday he will back a short-term funding bill to reopen the government that does not include funds to construct a wall along the southern border.

"I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and re-open the federal government," Trump said.

The president said he would sign a bill that would open the government for three weeks. In that period, he said, a bipartisan committee of House and Senate lawmakers will meet to develop a funding proposal for Homeland Security.

He expressed optimism that the resulting pitch would include funds for his long-promised border wall, which he maintained "should not be controversial."

“After 36 days of spirited debate and dialogue, I have seen and heard from enough Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to put partisanship aside, I think, and put the security of the American people first,” Trump said in remarks delivered from the Rose Garden.

Trump said federal workers will receive backpay “as soon as possible”  as part of the deal, which he has asked Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to bring the measure up for a vote "immediately."

The announcement comes after days of Trump insisting that Republican lawmakers were united in the push to secure wall funding, and that he would not cave on the issue. The Senate on Thursday rejected a pair of proposals to reopen the government, including one offered up by the White House.

Notably, a measure to re-open the government for a few weeks that was backed by Senate Democrats also won six GOP votes.

Following the Senate votes, Trump told reporters he would support a “reasonable agreement” among Senate leaders.

“I have other alternatives if I have to,” Trump said when asked about the prospect of a deal without wall funding. “And I’ll use those alternative if I have to. But we want to go through the system. We have to have a wall in this country.”

Trump’s demand for more than $5 billion to fund the wall triggered the partial government shutdown that began on Dec. 22. Democrats have staunchly opposed providing any money for the structure.

Trump had suggested earlier this month that he may declare a national emergency to secure funding for a border wall, but later backed off the idea and said he’d prefer Congress address the issue.

On Friday, he hinted that an emergency declaration remained a possibility if lawmakers are unable to broker a deal to his liking.

"As everyone knows, I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time," Trump said. "Hopefully it will be unnecessary."

The urgency to reopen the government seemed to be heightened among some lawmakers on Friday after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily halted flights into and out of LaGuardia Airport in New York City, citing staffing shortages because of the shutdown.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been furloughed or required to work without pay during the shutdown. Many government employees have missed two paychecks as of Friday.

No comments:

Powered by Blogger.