President Trump on Friday announced a deal with congressional leaders to temporarily reopen the government while talks continue on his demand for border wall money, handing Democrats a major victory in the protracted standoff.
The pact, announced by Trump from the Rose Garden at the White House, would reopen shuttered government departments for three weeks while leaving the issue of $5.7 billion for a U.S.-Mexico border wall to further talks.
Lawmakers said a bill could be on Trump’s desk by the end of the day Friday.
Trump said that a congressional conference committee would spend the next three weeks working in a bipartisan fashion to come up with a border security package.
If a “fair deal” does not emerge by Feb. 15, Trump said, there could be another government shutdown or he could declare a national emergency, a move that could allow him to direct the military to build the wall without congressional consent. Such an action would likely face an immediate legal challenge.
“No border security plan can never work without a physical barrier. It just doesn’t happen,” Trump said in his remarks, during which he dwelled on his arguments for making good on his marquee campaign promise of a wall at the Mexican border.
Since the Dec. 22 start of the partial shutdown, Trump had insisted that Democrats must relent to his demand for wall funding before he would allow the government to reopen. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) had insisted on no negotiations until the shutdown ended.
[Post-ABC poll: Trump disapproval swells as president, Republicans face lopsided blame for shutdown]
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif). said he believes Trump’s threat of another shutdown is credible.
“I believe it is. I hope calmer heads will prevail here,” McCarthy said.