Rebecca Ballhaus, Kristina Peterson, and Gordon Lubold, Wall Street Journal, January 25, 2019
President Trump said Friday he had reached a deal with congressional leaders to reopen the government for three weeks while negotiations over border security funding continue, marking at least a temporary concession by the president to Democrats.
Speaking in the Rose Garden, Mr. Trump said he would sign a bill to open the government until Feb. 15 and start negotiations between the House and Senate over a full-year bill funding the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the border.
The stopgap spending bill, which would end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history, provides no immediate funding for a border wall. Mr. Trump said he would continue to push for funding for such a barrier in the next three weeks, declaring: “Walls shouldn’t be controversial.”
He thanked federal workers for going more than a month without pay and said he would ensure they received back pay “very quickly or as soon as possible.”
Mr. Trump warned that if no deal is reached by Feb. 15, the government could shut down a second time. He also threatened to address border security unilaterally if no agreement is struck by that point.
For weeks, Democrats have urged the president to reopen the government while negotiations continue. Republican senators have been talking with increasing urgency in recent days about passing a stopgap spending bill.
The stopgap spending bill would include an extension of border security funding at current levels, which includes $1.3 billion for border security but not expressly for a wall.
The deal Mr. Trump announced is a retreat from the hard-line stance he had taken throughout the monthlong shutdown. Mr. Trump dropped his insistence on border-wall funding as a condition of reopening the government, at least while negotiations play out over the next three weeks.