Trump insists Mexico wall will be built despite deal to end shutdown

Jan 27, 2019, 01:16
Trump insists Mexico wall will be built despite deal to end shutdown

The record 35-day federal shutdown has ended with President Trump giving in to mounting pressure and signing legislation to reopen the government for three weeks, a retreat from his demand that Congress commit billions to a U.S. -Mexico border wall before federal agencies could resume work.

The White House is preparing a draft proclamation for President Donald Trump to declare a national emergency along the southern border and has identified more than $7 billion in potential funds for his signature border wall should he go that route, according to internal documents reviewed by CNN.

In a statement, Trump said that he will sign a bill to ensure "all employees receive back pay very quickly".

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer suggested at a news conference on Friday that the President's decision to accept a stop-gap funding measure amounted to a validation of the position taken by Democrats during the shutdown fight.

He predicted that some Democrats would be willing to cut a border-security deal in coming weeks that includes money for a wall, even as party leaders have said they have no intention of funding Trump's border wall.

"Over the next 21 days, I expect that both Democrats and Republicans will operate in good faith", the President said.

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If Congress does not produce a fair deal over the next three weeks, Trump said, the government will either shut down again on February 15, or he will use the emergency powers given to him by the Constitution to address the emergency on the border.

The bill also came one day after the U.S. Senate blocked two competing bills, backed by the White House and Democrats respectively, to reopen the government.

Pelosi said she will speak with President Trump once the government is open and negotiate with him over a "mutually agreed upon" date for him to come to the House Chamber.

"I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government", he said from the Rose Garden.

But Trump conceded "we do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea - we never did" and invoked the utility of "smart walls" that substitute some physical barriers for drones and other sensors.

The lapse in funding has shuttered about one-quarter of federal agencies, with about 800,000 workers either furloughed or required to work without pay.

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About a quarter of the United States government has been without funding for 35 days, leaving many government employees reliant on food handouts. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall.

Pelosi joined Schumer in commending the deal but stopped short of reveling in seeing Trump drop his previous insistence on border wall funding.

Asked during an appearance on Fox News whether the president had caved on the shutdown fight, White House spokesman Hogan Gidley said, "100 percent no".

Earlier, hundreds of flights were grounded or delayed at USA airports because of unpaid air traffic controllers calling in sick. The Trump administration has promised to pay them as soon as possible.

On Friday, the Senate and House unanimously passed a bill to temporarily end the shutdown, after which President Trump signed the bill into law.

Trump said he was "very proud" to make the announcement but in a sign he might be realising original vision may never be a reality, he once again redefined what he used to describe simply as a "big attractive wall". Overnight and Friday, several Republicans were calling on him openly, and in private, to reopen the government.

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Trump has said a wall is needed to curb illegal immigration and drug trafficking. "I don't believe anyone in America thinks you can have border security without some form of a barrier", said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.