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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 20 February 2019

US congress passes temporary deal to end US shutdown

Mr Trump again threatened to use his national emergency powers if a longer-lasting deal could not be reached by February 15

Congress has voted through a deal to reopen the US federal government for three weeks, hours after President Donald Trump announced the temporary fix.

Mr Trump said he will make sure federal workers get back pay quickly

“We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” Trump told reporters Friday in televised remarks at the White House Rose Garden.

The stopgap measure includes no money for a border wall, two people familiar with the matter said. But the accord would set up a period of negotiations on border security measures, the people said.

“They have said they are for complete border security, and they have finally and fully acknowledged that having barriers, fencing or walls or whatever you want to call it will be an important part of the solution,” Mr Trump said.

Later on Friday the US Congress voted to end the 35-day partial government shutdown and agreed to reopen federal agencies without any guarantee of money for his proposed border wall.

The Senate and House voted unanimously to reopen the agencies through to February 15 while lawmakers negotiate on a border security plan. Once Trump signs the legislation, hundreds of thousands of federal employees can return to work and get back pay dating to the beginning of the impasse, on December 22.

“Hopefully, now the president has learned his lesson,” Senate minority leader Chuck Schumer, told reporters.

Congress passed the temporary bill, ending the 35-day shutdown. AP
Congress passed the temporary bill, ending the 35-day shutdown. AP

Kevin McCarthy, the top Republican in the House of Representatives, said his party will allow the chamber to quickly approve the funding deal.

Mr McCarthy, who helped scuttle an earlier version of a similar funding agreement that would have prevented a government shutdown in the first place, said he expects lawmakers to reach a deal to provide border security.

"I hope calmer heads prevail," Mr McCarthy told reporters in the capitol on Friday after President Donald Trump announcement.

Negotiations in the Senate restarted Thursday after the chamber rejected rival plans to reopen plans from Trump and Democrats to fund the government. Mr Trump had refused to end the shutdown until he received $5.7 billion for a border wall and Democrats had refused to negotiate with him on wall funding as long as the shutdown continued.

After congress voted through the temporary legislation, Mr Trump took to Twitter to defend accusations he had climbed down from his insistence on funding for the wall.

Pressure on Mr Trump and other lawmakers to end the shutdown escalated Friday as the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily halted flights into New York’s LaGuardia Airport because of a shortage of air-traffic control staff.

While the delay was lifted after an hour and 22 minutes, the disruption cascaded through East Coast airports such as Newark Liberty International and Philadelphia.

About 800,000 federal employees who are furloughed or working without pay and many of them missed their second paycheck on Friday.

Updated: January 26, 2019 01:52 PM

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