WASHINGTON – United States President Donald Trump signed on Friday a decree that will provide funds for the next three weeks to the administration allowing it to reopen after a partial shutdown of 35 days, the longest in history.
“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump said from the White House.
Trump agreed to approve the budget extension, which does not include funds for the wall that was the source of the disagreement with the Democrats, after about 800,000 public workers lost their second consecutive payroll on Friday.
The reopening agreed between Democrats and Republicans and endorsed by Trump is only for three weeks – until Feb. 15 – as that is the deadline he has set for the opposition to sit down and negotiate a migratory agreement that includes money for the wall.
“This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown,” Trump had said in a tweet prior to the signing.
He also chose to add that the reopening would be a short one, and that he would force a new closure or declare a national emergency to use funds for the wall without the authorization of Congress if there was no agreement with the Democrats on immigration before Feb. 15.
“It’s sad, though, that it’s taken so long to come to an obvious conclusion,” the speaker of the House of Representatives, Democrat Nancy Pelosi, said after Trump’s announcement.
Trump was forced to accept the agreement on Friday amid a growing rebellion among Republican senators willing to ally with the Democrats to make way for the reopening, and protests by public officials forced to work without pay.
The day they lost their second consecutive payroll, nearly 14,000 Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees did not go to their jobs on Friday, in the middle of tax season.
Neither did a group of air traffic controllers whose absence led to major delays at two of the New York airports – La Guardia and Newark – and also in Philadelphia, generating fears about the state of the American economy.
This partial closure, the longest in history, began on Dec. 22 and affected about 800,000 public workers (25 percent of the administration), half of them forced to work without pay.