Thursday 21 November 2019

US President Donald Trump announces deal has been reached to re-open government

  • Trump says shutdown could resume if longer deal not reached
  • Re-open on tentative deal on February 15
  • Could use national emergency declaration to get wall money
  • White House will accept compromise with less than $5.7 bn for wall -official
U.S. President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as he speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to speak to the news media about a deal to end the partial government shutdown in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Jim Young
President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, Jan 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Jacquelyn Martin)
Independent.ie Newsdesk

Independent.ie Newsdesk

The US Senate has voted unanimously to end a 35-day partial federal government shutdown with legislation to temporarily fund many agencies - but without the $5.7bn President Donald Trump had demanded to help build a wall on the US-Mexico border.

The House of Representatives is expected to promptly consider the bill providing funding through February 15 and send it to the president for signing into law.

Earlier, Trump announced that he will sign a bill to open the government for three weeks until this date. The short-term deal effectively ends the longest government shutdown in US history.

"I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government," Trump said at the White House.

"In a short while, I will sign a bill to open our government for three weeks until February 15. I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly, or as soon as possible," Trump said.

He added that he would declare a national emergency if he doesn't eventually reach a deal with Democrats on border security.

Declaring an emergency could allow Trump to circumvent Congress and repurpose funds Congress has appropriated for other purposes in order to build a wall.

Trump said in the meantime a bipartisan committee of lawmakers would meet to discuss the nation's border security needs.

The White House said it would accept a final compromise deal to keep the US government open as long as it includes funding for a border wall, even if it is less than the $5.7bn that Trump has requested.

An administration official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said that stories of law enforcement officials not being able to do their jobs at full capacity helped convince Trump to agree to a short term solution to re-open the government now.

Wall Street gained ground on Friday in a broad-based rally as investors were heartened by news that Washington would move to temporarily end the longest US government shutdown in history.

All three major US stock indexes advanced, with the Dow and the Nasdaq eking out their fifth straight weekly gains. But the S&P 500 posted its first weekly loss of the year, snapping a four-week run.

Closure

The government closure was in its 35th day on Friday and was threatening the economy as hundreds of thousands of federal workers missed a second paycheck on Friday.

Trump had been dug in, insisting on funding for a wall he wants to build on the US-Mexico border, while the Democratic-led House of Representatives opposed the wall.

"We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea. We never did," Trump said today.

"We never proposed that. We never wanted that because we have barriers at the border where natural structures are as good as anything that we could build.

"Our proposed structures will be in predetermined, high-risk locations that have been specifically identified by the Border Patrol to stop illicit flows of people and drugs," Trump said.

Democrats in the House had demanded a reopening of the government before any negotiations with Trump and his Republican allies in Congress on border security.

In one of the many effects of the shutdown, hundreds of flights were grounded or delayed at airports in the New York area and Philadelphia on Friday as more air traffic controllers called in sick.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued a ground stop for flights destined for New York's LaGuardia Airport on Friday morning before lifting it about an hour later. Staff shortages also delayed flights at Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport, the FAA said.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have been furloughed or, as with some airport workers, required to work without pay. Some federal agencies have reported much higher absence rates among workers as they face an indefinite wait for their next paychecks.

The lapse in funding has shuttered about one-quarter of federal agencies, with about 800,000 workers either furloughed or required to work without pay. It is the longest such shutdown in U.S. history. Many employees as well as contractors were turning to unemployment assistance, food banks and other support. Others began seeking new jobs.

Meanwhile, Mexico's Foreign Ministry said the administration of President Donald Trump has informed them the United States will send the first group of 20 asylum seekers back to Mexican territory later on Friday through the international border crossing in Tijuana.

Under the new US policy dubbed the Migrant Protection Protocols (MPP), which was first announced by the Trump administration on December 20, non-Mexican migrants seeking US asylum will be returned to Mexico if they already crossed the US southern border.

A Washington Post-ABC News opinion poll published on Friday showed public disapproval of Trump has swelled 5 percentage points to 58 percent over three months, with a majority of Americans holding him and congressional Republicans most responsible for the shutdown. The poll found that more than one in five Americans say they have been personally inconvenienced by the shutdown.

Reuters

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