President Donald Trump caved to Democrat demand Friday to reopen the government without the $5.7 billion he requested for a border wall.
The president agreed to temporarily reopen the government for three weeks, despite repeated assertions this week that he would not do so, while continuing to negotiate a deal with Democrats that includes wall funding.
Trump warned he will be forced to announce a State of Emergency, which will allow him to use government funding without Congressional approval for to build a border, on February 15 if Congress fails to negotiate a deal that allocates funding for the wall.
“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government either shuts down on February 15 again or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” the president told reporters in the Rose Garden at the White House.
Trump’s decision to reopen the government after 35 days comes as 800,000 Federal workers face a second missed paycheck.
The president explained that he came to his decision to end the partial government shutdown after speaking with many reasonable Democrats who are willing to support a physical barrier to resolve border security vulnerabilities.
“Many disagree, but I really feel that working with Democrats and Republicans, we can make a truly great and secure deal happen for everyone,” he said.
A bipartisan congressional committee will review border patrol requests for security and arrange a compromise deal that includes a physical barrier, Trump declared.
“They will put together a homeland security package for me to shortly sign into law,” he said. “Walls should not be controversial.”
Trump praised federal workers who have been hard-hit by the shutdown and promised the would receive back pay.
“You are very, very special people. I am so proud that you are citizens of our country,” he said. “When I say ‘Make America Great Again,’ it could never be done without you.”