President Trump and Congressional leaders have reached a deal to end the partial government shutdown that began December 22 and has become the longest in US history.
If signed, the agreement, which does not include any of the requested $5.7 billion in border wall funding, will fund affected agencies through Feb. 15 and provide paychecks for hundreds of thousands of federal workers. That would happen “as soon as possible,” Trump said in remarks. However, while both those who continued working and those who were furloughed are assured of receiving back pay, currently it’s unknown when that will happen- and likely it would take several days at least after the agencies reopen.
In the meantime a Congressional committee will try to hammer out a border security package. If no agreement can be reached another shutdown is a possibility – or Trump said he might resort to declaring a national emergency and direct the military to begin wall construction.
Some 800,000 federal employees missed a second paycheck on Friday as delays and grounded flights at some airports demonstrated the shutdown’s impact on the nation’s air travel, already impacted by a 10% decline in TSA personnel not coming in for scheduled shifts. Thousands of IRS employees called back to work reportedly went absent as well.
“After 36 days of spirited debate and dialogue, I have seen and heard from enough Democrats and Republicans that they are willing to put partisanship aside, I think,” Trump said in announcing the deal. It remains to be seen whether full-year funding for DHS and other unfunded agencies can be reached in the next three weeks, although by-partisan commissions in the past have helped find solutions in highly politicized debates.