WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump said on Friday that he reached an agreement with US congressional leaders to end the partial shutdown of the federal government and that he was ready to sign a bill funding operations for three weeks to allow for negotiations on his plan to build a wall on the border with Mexico.
“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and re-open the federal government,” the president told reporters outside the White House.
Trump thanked the federal employees for their hard work during the 35-day shutdown, the longest in history, and promised that they would begin receiving paychecks as soon as possible.
Roughly 800,000 federal workers were furloughed or required to work without pay during the shutdown.
The plan announced Friday will provide enough funds for the federal government to function until Feb. 15.
The agreement, which does not include funding for the border wall with Mexico, one of Trump’s campaign promises, represents a victory for the Democrats, led by the speaker of the House of Representatives, Nancy Pelosi, who say they are unwilling to fund the barrier.
Trump said that he was prepared to shut down the government again next month or declare a national emergency if he can’t reach accord with lawmakers on the wall.
“If we do not get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 15 again ... Or I will use the powers given to me under the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” Trump said.
He was accompanied for the announcement by several members of his Cabinet, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.
The impact of the shutdown was dramatized Friday when two of the airports serving New York City, La Guardia and Newark Liberty, were forced to delay takeoffs because not enough air traffic controllers reported for work to allow for safe operations.
The situation at Newark and La Guardia had a ripple effect across the United States, causing delays in other cities such as Boston or Atlanta, which is home to Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s busiest airport.