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President Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House on Friday, saying he will endorse a short-term spending deal to end the government shutdown. Evan Vucci/AP hide caption
Updated at 3:35 p.m. ET
President Trump has endorsed a bipartisan deal that would end the 35-day partial government shutdown. The three-week stopgap funding measure would reopen shuttered agencies while negotiations continue.
“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said in the White House Rose Garden.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Senate will pass the measure Friday. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., says the House is expected to act after the Senate does, allowing Trump to sign a bill to reopen the government by Friday night.
The proposal backed by congressional leaders would fund the government through Feb. 15 but does not include funding for the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border that Trump has pushed for.
As he ended his speech, Trump warned that if a deal made over the next three weeks doesn’t include the “powerful wall or steel barrier” he has demanded, “the government would either shut down again” or he would declare a national emergency to build the wall.
“I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time. Hopefully it will be unnecessary,” Trump teased at the beginning of his remarks.
But the three-week spending bill would also include a deal to move forward on the longer-term Department of Homeland Security funding bill for the rest of the fiscal year, working with bipartisan Senate and House members on a broader package of border security measures, but that would not include money earmarked for a wall.
“We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shiny sea,” the president added, showing an openness to some technology efforts that some Democrats have signaled they could back. Still, he reiterated proposals to build barriers in specific areas identified by the Border Patrol, strengthen security at legal ports of entry and provide humanitarian assistance to those who have crossed the border.
“Walls or barriers or whatever you want to call it will be an important part of the solution,” said Trump, who has regularly contradicted himself in how he describes the promised wall.
The president’s remarks soon veered into his standard stump speech on the dangers of illegal immigration — many of those claims have been fact-checked in the past to be misleading or exaggerated.
Federal employees who have been working without pay or are furloughed would also get back pay as part of the agreement. The breakthrough comes as federal workers missed their second paycheck in a row, now going without their salaries for more than a month. Trump thanked those workers, calling them “patriots” and said they have “suffered” far greater than anyone but they and their families can understand.
The prolonged stalemate has pushed the nation’s security and infrastructure to the brink, with significant flight delays at major airports due to Federal Aviation Administration and Transportation Security Administration absences escalating on Friday. The FBI has also warned that critical crime-fighting measures are also being curtailed with its agents limited and working without pay.
Trump and Republicans have long maintained any deal to end the shutdown must include funding for the border wall the president wants, which was his key promise during the 2016 campaign. But Democrats said they should reopen the government and then resume talks, which is exactly what Friday’s deal does.
On Thursday, Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., a Trump ally who has also pushed for major changes to the nation’s immigration laws, pushed for a similar deal, writing on Twitter that he was working on a short-term, three-week funding bill “that includes a down payment on wall/barrier funding and Democratic priorities for disaster relief showing good faith from both sides.” But Democrats said that would be another nonstarter.
The way forward is clear:
* 3 week CR that includes a down payment on wall/barrier funding and Democratic priorities for disaster relief showing good faith from both sides.
— Lindsey Graham (@LindseyGrahamSC) January 24, 2019
Trump signaled Thursday he might be open to a compromise, after his proposal to reopen the government with full funding for his border wall failed in the Senate. His plan would have included border wall funding in exchange for three years of legal status and other protections for those affected by the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program and those with temporary protected status.
A competing plan backed by Democrats also failed to pass on Thursday. That proposal would have been a short-term funding measure through Feb. 8 with additional disaster aid but no money for the wall. Though it failed, more members voted for the Democrats’ proposal in the GOP-controlled Senate than for Trump’s plan.
McConnell and Schumer continued negotiations after the votes, and Trump told reporters Thursday he could approve of a possible deal if the two leaders reached one.
“It depends on what the agreement is,” Trump said. “If they come to a reasonable agreement I would support it.”
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sources: Business news from npr.org