President Donald Trump Friday reversed himself announcing that negotiators had reached a deal to end the 35-day government shutdown, in a deal that does not include funding for his southern border wall.
Trump told the nation a plan had been reached to reopen the government for three weeks, and said negotiators would use that time for talks on a wall – an offer from minority Leader Charles Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that he walked away from over a month ago after making funding for the border wall a condition for reopening the government.
The House under the leadership of Speaker nancy Pelosi has unanimously passed the measure, sending the bill to President Trump for his signature.
The president signed the bill in line with the optimistic prediction of Democratic leaders that Trump would sign a bill immediately Friday to reopen government and start the process of paying 800,000 furloughed and unpaid federal workers.
In a cautionary tone senate Minority Leader, Sen. Charles Schumer [D-NY], said he hoped Trump had “learned his lesson.”
“No one should ever underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned,” Schumer said.
‘I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,’ Trump said at the Rose Garden after being applauded by his cabinet members and his White House staff when he approached the podium for remarks.
The deal includes no funding for the wall beyond existing authorities for repair of existing structures.
The wall-free temporary spending package that will release the 800,000 furloughed workers from their unpaid limbo, an option that Democrats have asked for ever since the government ran out of cash on Dec. 22.
Brandishing what he called a ‘very powerful alternative’ that he has, – a threat of invoking emergency powers if he failed to secure the funding the next few weeks, Trump said ‘hopefully’ he won’t have to fall back to such measures.
A bipartisan committee of lawmakers he said, would meet to discuss border security needs.
On the rise: Speaker Nancy Pelosi held firm to her stance that there would be no federal budget negotiations until govt reopened and furlough workers recalled
Within hours the measure breezed through the Senate, marking at least a temporary end to a stalemate that disrupted the lives of thousands of federal employees and contractors, took a bite out of Trump’s approval ratings and that of congressional Republicans, and saw House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s low public ratings rise as she solidified support within her own caucus.
After delivering extended remarks on what he considers the virtues of a wall and tough border security, the president issued yet another shutdown threat.
‘Let me be very clear. We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,’ Trump threatened.
‘If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15 – again – or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We will have great security and I want to thank you all very much,’ Trump said, ending his remarks by brandishing executive power.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer – “No one should ever underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned.”
Democratic leaders crowed over the embarrassing concession by the President, which proves a significant victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi [D-Calif].
“Hopefully now the President has learned his lesson,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer [D-NY] said. “No one should ever underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned.”
The deal reportedly came to a head during a meeting between Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his office Thursday evening.
McConnell proposed a short-term funding bill with a down payment on the wall, but Schumer rejected that, suggesting Democrats would commit to the path that Trump announced — an agreement for the House and Senate to work out border security in a conference committee.
McConnell [R-Ky] agreed to take that deal to the White House, and apparently convinced the President.
Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell [R-Ky], and his Democratic counterpart Schumer hammered out the deal on Thursday
The path forward, which breezed through Congress and was set to be signed by Trump late Friday, bankrolls the nine shuttered Cabinet departments and dozens of federal agencies through Feb. 15 on current spending levels.
The government-reopening plan buys lawmakers three weeks to negotiate full fiscal year funding without continuing to hold the paychecks of federal workers hostage.
But Trump explicitly threatened he will force the government to shut down again if Congress doesn’t include his demanded $5.7 billion in wall cash — a request Democrats have called a “nonstarter,” as they consider the very concept of a wall outdated and immoral.
The President enters the new negotiations with significantly less clout.
Recent polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans of all political stripes blame Trump and Republicans for the shutdown, and Democrats — emboldened with control of the House — are unlikely to budge.
“The American people do not like it when you throw a wrench into the lives of government workers over an unrelated political dispute,” Schumer said at a joint press conference with Pelosi.
If Democrats refuse to give him barrier cash, Trump countered he will circumvent Congress and declare a national emergency to allocate taxpayer funds for the border project he used to promise Mexico would pay for.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” the President said. “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.”
Constitutional experts disagree with Trump’s expansive view of executive power and say a national emergency declaration would all but certainly be challenged and likely struck down in court, especially since the President is undermining his own sense of urgency by saying the declaration can be postponed.
Trump, could have averted the shutdown altogether by signing a deal that was nearly identical to Friday’s and passed on bipartisan lines by the Senate before the government closed.
But, after at first saying he would approve that measure, Trump refused it after being ridiculed by right-wing TV pundits.