US President Donald Trump has conceded to temporarily end the longest US government shutdown — without wall funding to mounting pressure that he reopen the federal government. Earlier, he ratified a bill funding the government for three weeks, ending an unprecedented 35-day-long shutdown.
This will allow federal employees to return to work but the bill does not allow the billions of dollars in border wall funding he’s spent the past month demanding. Both the chambers of the US Congress had unanimously passed legislation to temporarily reopen the government for three weeks until February 15.
The shutdown had been in place since December 22 last year. The passage of this bill comes as a major relief to 800,000 federal workers who have been working without pay ever since the shutdown came into effect.
With polls showing most Americans blamed him for the painful shutdown – the longest of its kind in U.S. history – Trump embraced a way out of the crisis that Democratic House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been pushing for weeks.
But the Republican president vowed the shutdown would resume on Feb. 15 if he is dissatisfied with the results of the border security talks, or he would declare a national emergency to get the wall money. With the effects of the shutdown spreading, the Republican-led Senate voted unanimously to pass the stopgap spending measure to temporarily fund many agencies. The Democratic-led House was expected to approve it on Friday as well.
The shutdown, which pitted Pelosi against Trump – was her first test since assuming the post three weeks ago, and she drew praise from fellow Democrats for what they said was an outmaneuvering of the president.
After Trump announced the agreement, top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer said he hoped the experience would be a “lesson learned” for Trump and his party that it is self-defeating to shut down the government over policy disputes. Trump said he would act to ensure that federal workers get their back pay “very quickly, or as soon as possible.”