Trump Signs Bill To Temporarily Halt US Government Shutdown

Government Shutdown Comes To Temporary Halt Donald Trump has signed a bill to temporarily end the longest government shutdown in US history, without winning a promise of $5.7 billion...

Government Shutdown Comes To Temporary Halt

Donald Trump has signed a bill to temporarily end the longest government shutdown in US history, without winning a promise of $5.7 billion funding for his wall along the southern border. The Republican president announced a three-week funding bill until February 15 – which ensures 800,000 workers are paid.

Trump was forced to back down from his demand that Congress provide more border wall money before federal agencies get back to work, but he warned that the government could shut down again if there is no breakthrough on his project.

Trump said: “Over the next 21 days, I expect that both Democrats and Republicans will operate in good faith. If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government either shuts down on February 15th again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier.”

Talks over money for a US-Mexico border wall are scheduled to take place after agencies open for business again.

A Trump administration official told the Reuters news agency the president may accept less than the $5.7 billion he originally requested. Speaking after Trump’s announcement, Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer said: “Hopefully the president has learned his lesson”, and accused the government of holding workers “hostages”.

The partial shutdown began on December 22 and entered its 35th day on January 25, passing the previous record on January 12. It lasted longer than the shutdown of 1995-96, which saw then Democrat president Bill Clinton clash with Republicans over health, education and other spending.

Trump’s shutdown has affected the work of nine cabinet departments and various smaller agencies – leaving hundreds of thousands of workers without pay for almost two months. The deal comes as the shortage of air traffic controllers sparked delays at major US airports across the country and fewer than half of 26,000 IRS staff recalled to work turned up. Americans begin to file their taxes from Monday.

In his announcement on Friday, the president said the wall would be “smart”, not “medieval”. The wall, or barrier, would be made of steel and have “see-through visibility”, as well as monitors and drones.

“We do not need 2,000 miles of a concrete wall from sea to shiny sea to shiny sea. We never did,” he said. “Walls should not be controversial,” he added.

He previously said he would be “proud” to force a shutdown if Democrats did not agree to fund the wall and has threatened to declare a national emergency before. Democrats have opposed the wall’s funding, calling it costly, ineffective and immoral.

An early meeting between the president and Congressional leaders Nancy Pelosi and Schmer ended with an accusation from Democrats that Trump threw a “temper tantrum”.
President Trump dismissed the meeting as a “total waste of time” after no agreement was made with Pelosi and Schumer.

Those affected have been sharing images on Twitter of their payslips, showing $0 for that month. Many have continued to work their usual hours – despite not being paid.

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