President Donald Trump signed a bill Friday, January 25th ending the government shutdown, capping off the longest ever US Government shutdown, and reinstating funds until February 15.
After 35 days, Trump backed a deal to fund federal agencies for three weeks, but it includes none of the money he has demanded for a US-Mexico border wall. The Republican president previously vowed to reject any budget unless it included $5.7bn to fund his signature campaign pledge.
But Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, flatly refused. The House and the Senate voted Friday to end the government shutdown, extending funding for three weeks, following a deal being reached between Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.
The US economy lost $11 billion during the month-plus hiatus because of lost productivity and business, according to a finance industry estimate – more than the $5.7bn of taxpayer funding the president demanded for his long-promised wall along the US-Mexico border but failed to get Congress to agree to.
The decision marked a significant climb-down by the president. Less than 24 hours before he spoke in the White House Rose Garden, Trump demanded that any solution from Congress should include a “large down payment” for his long-promised wall along the southern border.
On Friday, however, intensifying delays at airports across the north-east and fresh polling that revealed mounting public frustration provided new urgency for efforts to break the impasse.
“We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said, despite there being no fresh offer from Democratsthat could be termed a “deal”.
But he reminded Americans he had a “powerful alternative”, threatening to declare a national emergency if a deal for wall funding is not reached before the next deadline to fund the government.
“Let me be very clear,” Trump said, “we really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier. If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on 15 February again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the law and the constitution of the US to address this emergency.”