President Trump announced on Friday that he will endorse a short-term funding bill to re-open the government, which has been operating under a partial shutdown since December 21st. The bill will not include funding for a border wall. “I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said from the Rose Garden.
The stopgap bill would include $1.3 billion for border security and keep the government open until February 15th. In the meantime, the president made clear that he plans to continue working toward a deal that would include funding for a wall. If such a deal is not reached, Trump said, “the government will either shut down on February 15th, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency.”
Trump closes by threatening to declare a natl emergency: "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 or on February 15, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me." pic.twitter.com/qGBXFvfljF
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 25, 2019
Trump had previously maintained that he would not re-open the government, even temporarily, unless Democrats agreed to allocate $5.7 billion of taxpayer money to finance a border wall. As recently as Thursday, he tweeted that he would not give in to pressure from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA). “Nancy just said she ‘just doesn’t understand why?'” wrote the president. “Very simply, without a Wall it all doesn’t work. Our Country has a chance to greatly reduce Crime, Human Trafficking, Gangs and Drugs. Should have been done for decades. We will not Cave!”
But as America’s federal infrastructure has crumbled, several Republican lawmakers have broken with the president to express support for a resolution that would end the shutdown. On Thursday, six Republican senators voted with Democrats on a stopgap measure that would have re-opened the government. Though Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) wasn’t among them, he reportedly urged the president on Thursday to re-open the government temporarily.
The public, too, had grown weary of the president’s obstinance, with 60 percent of Americans saying the president “bears a great deal of responsibility” for the shutdown, compared to only 31 percent who said the same for congressional Democrats, according to a poll released this week by the Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday yielded similar results, putting the president’s disapproval rating at 58 percent.
The crisis took on added urgency Friday morning, when the Federal Aviation Administration delayed flights into New York City’s LaGuardia Airport, Newark’s Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport due to a lack of air traffic controllers. The nation’s air system is only one of several critical federal institutions that have been suffering because of the shutdown. On Tuesday, the FBI Agents Association released a report detailing how agents have had difficulty combating terrorism and gangs like MS-13 because of cuts resulting from the shutdown.
In total, 800,000 federal employees have gone without paychecks since the shutdown began. Trump said on Friday that “all employees receive their back pay very quickly or as soon as possible.” The same can’t be said for government contractors.
800,000 federal workers will get repaid, but there will be no backpay for the 1 million + contractors.
— Damian Paletta (@damianpaletta) January 25, 2019
Trump agreeing to support a spending bill that does not include funding for the wall marks a monumental win for Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY), who refused to give into Trump’s demands despite the president threatening to keep the government closed for “years.” The agreement is the second concession Trump has made to Pelosi this week. He insisted that he would deliver the State of the Union address from the House Chamber next Tuesday despite Pelosi rescinding his invitation to do so. (Trump on Wednesday tweeted that he would adhere to Pelosi’s suggestion.) With the shutdown over, the State of the Union will presumably proceed as scheduled, with Pelosi sitting directly behind Trump.
When asked on Friday how she believes Trump will respond to caving and re-opening the government without wall funding, Pelosi directed reporters’ attention to her office decorations. “We could plant these flowers along the border and he’d say, ‘I got my wall,'” she said.
“We’re not going to govern by campaign slogan,” the House speaker added.