Trump announces deal to lift government shutdown for 3 weeks

by Samuel Abasi Posted on January 25th, 2019

Washington: President Donald Trump announced today that he has endorsed a deal to reopen the US government for three weeks, after a record-breaking shutdown of federal agencies.

Congressional sources say the pact does not include any money that Mr Trump has demanded for a US-Mexico border wall.

The Republican president previously vowed to reject any such bill unless it included $5.7bn (£4.3bn) to fund his signature campaign pledge.

But Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, have flatly refused.

Speaking on day 35 of the shutdown in the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump said the agreement would fund the government until 15 February.

He said federal workers affected by the political imbroglio, whom he called “incredible patriots”, would receive full back-pay.

Mr Trump also said he had decided at this time not to resort to “a very powerful alternative” – an apparent reference to declaring a national emergency.

This could divert military funding towards building a southern border wall, but such a proclamation would provoke constitutional uproar and legal challenges.

His statement came as some 800,000 civil servants missed another payday amid the five-week impasse.

Hundreds of flights were grounded or delayed at US airports on Friday because of unpaid air traffic controllers calling in sick.

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) halted arrivals for nearly an hour at New York’s LaGuardia Airport.

Flights were also delayed at Newark Liberty International Airport and Philadelphia International Airport because of staff shortages, the FAA said.

Meanwhile, thousands of Internal Revenue Service (IRS) employees failed to show up after they were ordered to return to work unpaid, the Washington Post reported.

The Trump administration recalled 26,000 IRS workers this week to handle the looming tax filing season.

But about 14,000 of them did not come back, and most could not even be reached, IRS officials told members of Congress.

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Samuel Abasi

Samuel Abasi

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