Donald Trump _ (U.S. President)

Trump announces deal to lift shutdown



We have reached a deal - Trump
We have reached a deal – Trump

President Donald Trump has yielded to political pressure to end the longest US government shutdown in history.

After 35 days, he 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 such bill unless it included $5.7bn (£4.3bn) to fund his signature campaign pledge.

But Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, flatly refused.

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What did President Trump say?

Speaking in the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump said he was “very proud to announce” an agreement to fund the government until 15 February.

He said federal workers affected by the political imbroglio, whom he called “incredible patriots”, would receive full back-pay.

Mr Trump also said he would not yet resort to “a very powerful alternative” – an apparent reference to declaring a national emergency.

Other presidents got money for a border barrier - why not Trump?
Other presidents got money for a border barrier – why not Trump?

This could divert military funding towards building a southern border wall, but such a proclamation would provoke constitutional uproar and legal challenges.

However, the president added: “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 February 15 again.

“Or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”

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Later on Friday the Senate passed a bill to temporarily end the shutdown. It will now go to the House.

Mr Trump accepted the deal after hearing of the shutdown’s strain on law enforcement agencies, an administration official told Reuters news agency.

The president is prepared to haggle on the $5.7bn he has been demanding for the border barrier, the same official said.

Boy sells art to help mother through shutdown
Boy sells art to help mother through shutdown

For more than a month, Donald Trump insisted he would not support reopening the federal government without funding for his border wall.

On Friday, as the fallout from the partial shutdown sent tremors through the US aviation system, the president backed down.

Before all this began, Republican Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell reportedly warned the president that there was no clear way to win a shutdown standoff with Democrats, who – flush off their November election victories – wouldn’t relent.

The wily Kentucky senator, with more than a few legislative victories under his belt, was vindicated.

That must be cold comfort for congressional Republicans, who have watched their party – and the president – take the brunt of the blame for the impasse. And it now sets up a three-week period of frenetic negotiations to reach a border security agreement.

If the federal employees have been drowning because of the shutdown, this temporary funding agreement gives them a chance for a desperate gulp of air.

In three weeks, another shutdown looms, however. Or, the president warned, he could declare a national emergency and take the border battle to the courts.

Either way, the president has retreated – but the fight is far from over.

Presentational grey line
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY)
Democratic leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi

What’s the reaction?

The outcome was widely seen as a resounding victory for the Democratic leader of the House, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.

Lawmakers in her party lavished praise on the California congresswoman’s refusal to concede to Mr Trump.

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Some of the president’s supporters were disappointed.

Headlines on the Drudge Report and Breitbart News, which back his administration, screamed in red letters that there would be no wall funds.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter called Mr Trump “the biggest wimp ever to serve as President”.

Robert Reich, who served as labour secretary under Presidents Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton, tweeted that Mr Trump had thrown a tantrum and got “nothing”.

How bad has the shutdown been?

Some 800,000 civil servants missed another payday on Friday amid the five-week impasse.

Earlier on Friday, hundreds of flights were grounded or delayed at US airports because of unpaid air traffic controllers calling in sick.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halted arrivals for about an hour at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Flights were also delayed at Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport because of staff shortages, the FAA said.

Meanwhile, thousands of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees failed to show up after they were ordered to return to work unpaid, the Washington Post reported .

The Trump administration recalled 26,000 IRS workers this week to handle the looming tax filing season.

But about 14,000 of them did not come back as of Tuesday, IRS officials told members of Congress.

FBI Director Christopher Wray said in a video message to agents on Friday: “I’m about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.”

He said of the shutdown’s effects on his agency: “It’s mind-boggling, it’s short-sighted, and it’s unfair.”

His remarks came after an FBI report this week revealed its resources were at “breaking point”.

Graphic showing the lengths of various government shutdowns
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How have you been affected by the government shutdown? Email BBCNEWS.CO.UK@bbcnewslight.co.uk

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