President Donald Trump on Friday announced a short-term deal to reopen the federal government until Feb. 15 and provide back pay for employees while a bipartisan panel works on a larger border security package.
The deal announced by Trump reflected a proposal made by Senate Democrats a day earlier and temporarily ended a 35-day shutdown, the longest in U.S. history.
Trump said a wall will remain an “important part of the solution” moving forward.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steal barrier,” Trump said during Friday’s address. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down again on Feb. 15, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the law and the Constitution of the U.S. to address this emergency.”
Trump said a bipartisan panel of lawmakers will receive operational guidance from experts in the field as it attempts to write a homeland security package he’s willing to sign into law.
If that doesn’t happen, Trump could either close the government or declare a national emergency.
“Over the next 21 days, I expect both Democrats and Republicans will operate in good faith,” Trump said. “This is an opportunity for all parties to work together. If we make a fair deal, the American people will be proud of their government for proving we can put country before party.”
Sen. Steve Daines Tweeted his support for the temporary deal.
“I’m happy to see the government re-open,” he Tweeted. “Both sides need to continue to negotiate and compromise in good faith so we can have a permanent & real solution to keep the government open and secure our borders.”
Rep. Greg Gianforte, R-Montana, said the deal announced by the president gives both sides a fresh place to start. He too favored the president’s approach.
“This short-term deal ends the shutdown and provides Montana’s dedicated federal employees with the paychecks they need,” Gianforte said. “The deal also gives Democrats and Republicans an opportunity to come to the table, negotiate in good faith, and find a long-term solution to fund the government and secure our borders.
“Based on what I saw when I toured the southern border this week and talked with ranchers and border patrol agents about the challenges they face, we can’t afford to have open borders, and we must make critical investments in substantial, strong physical barriers to secure them.”