Trump agrees to reopen the government after a historically long 35-day shutdown, but it may be temporary.
President Trump agreed on Friday to reopen the U.S. government for three weeks. The news comes as a relief to the 800,000 U.S. citizens who have been forced to miss two paycheques due to the historically long shutdown. Some were forced to continue working within this time.
The announcement by the President on Friday came bittersweet as he continued on to state that this reopening could potentially be temporary. He advised that if he and Congress could not come to an agreement on the border wall funding that, on February 15, the government could shut down again. Either that or he would declare a state of emergency to supersede Congress for the wall funding. It has been reported that the White House has been drafting a proclamation for such an outcome.
It is likely, in the event Trump does declare a state of emergency just to build his wall, that it will be contested by the courts and the Democrats in Congress. Many have argued that the President cannot use this power to free up taxpayer funds for such a project.
The unusual retreat by the President came on the same day it was announced that air traffic had been slowed due to a lack of air traffic controllers and fears over safety.
The President has also come under increased pressure of late as a Washington Post-ABC News poll show that 53% of Americans blame Trump for the shutdown and only 29% blame congressional Democrats.
The end to the shutdown comes days before the President would usually give the State of the Union Address. However, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had previously revoked Trump’s invite and insisted that the SOTU wait until after the shutdown had ended. After some back and forth between Trump and Pelosi, Trump conceded to wait. Pelosi came out Friday to state that the Address would still not go ahead on the date it was originally scheduled, January 29, but would work with the President to find a new date after the government reopens.
For now, the 800,000 workers and their families can breathe a sigh a relief. This relief, however, may only be brief until another potential shutdown on February 15, as it looks unlikely that the Democrats will budge from their decision to not fund a physical wall.