Deal Reached! Government Shutdown Ends At Least For Now…
We have a deal, but will it last?
Trump announced Friday that a deal had been reached between the President and U.S. lawmakers to fund and open the government through February 15. The announcement came on the 35th day of the government shutdown, making it the longest in history and amid mounting pressure over the negative consequences of the shutdown.
“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 before reporters and members of his cabinet.
The deal for temporary stopgap funding still needs to be passed by both the House and Senate and would then require Trump’s signature. Both chambers of Congress are likely to pass the deal as both legislative bodies have been clamoring to temporarily open the government while negotiations over border wall funding continue.
According to CNN, on Thursday Trump said that he would only accept a temporary stopgap funding deal if it included a “prorated down payment” on the border wall, but on Friday there was no mention of such a deposit.
While the deal will be a relief for the 800,000 federal workers who have gone without pay as a result of the shutdown, there’s no guarantee the government won’t shut down again once the temporary funding measure expires. Trump is still demanding a physical wall, a demand Democrats have repeatedly said is a firm no.
“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 Feb. 15 – again – or I would use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” Trump said.
What the deal does is allow the government to reopen with both sides committed to continuing negotiations over border wall funding.
Looming crises in the aviation industry and increased publicity on federal workers struggling to make ends meet during the shutdown have increased the pressure on Trump and the GOP party in recent days. Just yesterday associations representing pilots, flight attendants and air traffic controllers released a statement warning of the deteriorating safety conditions in the industry and their lack of confidence in the FAA’s ability to maintain safety protocol.
Additionally, on Friday delays blamed on a lack of staffing as a result of the government shutdown started to ripple through airports on the East Coast. Flights leaving New York City’s LaGuardia airport were averaging an hour and a half delay. Other delays were seen at Boston, Washington and Florida airports according to the New York Times.
The increasing publicity on the plight of unpaid workers to put food on the table likely also increased the pressure on Trump to reach a deal. According to polls, most Americans blame Trump and the GOP for the shutdown and with federal workers turning to GoFundMe to support themselves, desperate furloughed government workers would likely pull Trump’s polling numbers down further.
While there is no guarantee there won’t be a second government shutdown, at least furloughed workers will get a chance to be paid.
“I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly or as soon as possible. It’ll happen fast,” Trump said on Friday.