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Breaking: Trump, Congress Agree to Reopen Government for Three Weeks

Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:23 PM
Sam Bourgi
Last Updated September 23, 2020 12:23 PM

After 35 days, the U.S. partial government shutdown has concluded temporarily after President Trump and congressional leaders agreed to fund the affected agencies for three weeks while negotiations on a permanent solution continue. The Drudge Report first broke the news after 12:30 p.m. ET.

Temporary Reprieve

government shutdown
An unnamed source told Drudge that there will be a temporary reprieve to the government shutdown.

A new funding agreement to reopen the U.S. government was announced Friday afternoon, confirming earlier reports from the Drudge Report and The Wall Street Journal. President Trump announced the new spending arrangement in a press conference outside the White House.

CNBC’s Washington correspondent Eamon Javers said preparation for the address mirrored a “full blown presidential announcement.”

The Washington Post streamed the announcement live via YouTube:

The deal announced by Trump is a three-week stopgap spending bill that would reopen government while negotiations over a new budget continue. Amid the shutdown, roughly 800,000 federal workers have been placed on furlough. They missed their second full paycheck on Friday.

The spending bill will ensure federal employees receive their back pay soon. Trump said  he has asked Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell to put the measure before Congress as soon as possible.

The temporary spending bill will not fund Trump’s proposed border wall with Mexico. Instead, it would extend border funding at current levels, which is equivalent to roughly $1.3 billion. Trump is eyeing upwards of $5.7 billion for the erection of a new steel barrier along the southern border.

On Saturday, the president proposed to extend protection for some illegal immigrants in the U.S. in exchange for border-security funding that would end the shutdown. However, Democrats outright refused to support any spending measure that includes a steel barrier on the southern border.

Pressure Mounts

The news on Friday came mere hours after Senator Tim Kaine hinted that a new deal was in the cards. Negotiations have picked up since President Trump vowed to declare a national emergency, which would have allowed him to bypass the budget approval process to fund his security initiative. By declaring a national emergency, the president would be able to divert funds from the Department of Defense to the southern border where a steel barrier could then be erected.

Pressure on Democrats and Republicans mounted on Friday after the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) temporarily suspended flights from New York’s La Guardia airport over staff shortages. This added to growing fears that a prolonged shutdown would disrupt everyday life for Americans and have an adverse effect on the economy in the short term.

“We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two facilities,” a spokesman for the FAA said in a statement . “We’ve mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic and increasing spacing between aircraft when needed. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system.”

President Trump was briefed on the matter, according to White House press secretary Sarah Sanders.

This story is breaking. Stay tuned for additional coverage.

Featured image courtesy of AP Photo/Alex Brandon