Donald Trump Signs A Deal To End Longest US Govt Shutdown

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| January 26 , 2019 , 13:50 IST

President Donald Trump on Friday signed a deal to end the longest shutdown of the US federal government, temporarily.

The deal was signed between President Donald Trump and Democrats that reopens shuttered agencies for three weeks as discussions continue on funding a border wall, which was at the heart of stalemate and remains unresolved.

The announcement in the White House Rose Garden on the bipartisan deal marked a retreat by Trump, suspending a political row that has paralyzed Washington, disrupted air travel and left more than 800,000 federal employees without pay for five weeks.

But, Trump also warned, “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, 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.”

The top Democratic senator, Chuck Schumer, said he hoped Trump had "learned his lesson."

The two chambers of US Congress quickly passed legislation ending the shutdown which will go into effect as soon as they were signed into law by the president.

The deal was widely seen as a victory for Democrats who had insisted on the reopening of the government as a precondition for border wall funding talks, and the president seemed to have capitulated, especially Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, the feisty leader of the Democrats, by abandoning his vow to reject any agreement that did not include money for his border wall, a key campaign promise.

The backlash from conservatives was swift and severe: Ann Coulter an influential commentator and Trump supporter condemned Trump as the “biggest wimp ever” to serve as president, and warned he would be a one-term president like George H W Bush, who was called wimp by conservatives earlier.

Trump triggered the shutdown in December as a way of putting pressure on congressional Democrats after they refused his wall funding demand.

But Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, didn't blink, calculating that Trump would be blamed by voters for the ensuing chaos -- and polls showed that they were correct.

ALSO READ: US House Passes Bills To End Government Shutdown, No Funds To Trump Wall

At his White House announcement, Trump sought to thank the many federal workers who suffered as collateral damage in the political battle, saying they showed "extraordinary devotion in the face of this recent hardship."

But Tiffany Cruz, who works at LaGuardia Airport in New York, which was also badly hit by delays, said she had little faith in Trump.

"He's just reopening (government) at his convenience," she said. "I don't believe he cares about anything but himself."

With the shutdown ends, the question arises whether Trump will be re-invited to deliver his State of the Union address in Congress next Tuesday.