President Donald Trump addressed the nation Friday, announcing lawmakers reached a deal on a bill to end the government shutdown.
“In a short while, I will sign a deal to open our government for three weeks until February 15th,” Trump said.
In answer to the biggest question of all – no, the funding bill does not fund Trump’s border wall.
This announcement comes after Congress failed to pass two different funding bills through the Senate on Thursday – one with the wall funding and one without.
“I will make sure government employees receive their back pay very quickly, or as soon as possible,” Trump said.
During the shutdown, government employees missed two full paychecks. In fact, some cities had already begun to step in on their behalf, banning evictions on unpaid federal workers until one month after the shutdown ends.
As far as his border wall, Trump said he has “other options” he can pursue. “Walls should not be controversial,” he said, explaining he still plans to pursue the building of a wall on the southern border of the U.S.
President Trump supports reopening the Government now that many Democrats have finally agreed to negotiate on border security and barrier funding.
While we hope that Congress finds a solution in the next 3 weeks, the President will continue to keep all options on the table.
— The White House (@WhiteHouse) January 25, 2019
“If we don’t get a good deal from Congress, the government will either shut down again on Febraury 15th, or I will use the powers afforded to me by the Constitution of the United States to secure the funding,” Trump said.
But one expert explained it is unlikely the government will shut down again in three weeks.
“He presumably is doing that [reopening the government] because of the damage the shutdown is having on his own approval ratings, particularly now that the shutdown is beginning to have a wider impact – in this case by delaying air flights across the Northeast,” Capital Economics Chief Economist Paul Ashworth said. “Under those circumstances, it would be remarkable if Trump then decided to back himself into a similar corner in three weeks’ time and triggered another shutdown.”
It remains to be seen if Republicans and Democrats will be able to come to an agreement to keep the government open on a permanent basis.
But perhaps the end to the shutdown, if only temporary, will give the government enough time to pay its unpaid employees and give the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development a chance to catch up on some of the federal contracts for more than 1,150 government-funded properties that house low-income renters that expired as a result of the shutdown.