United States President Donald Trump on Saturday accepted a deal to end the longest government in the nation’s history by temporarily compromising on his demand for $5.7 billion to construct a barrier along the US-Mexico border, Reuters reported. Trump, however, denied this was a concession. The shutdown began on December 22.
“I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall,” Trump tweeted. “It [deal to end shutdown] was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it is off to the races!”
The border wall was one of the Trump election campaign’s main promises.
Trump said he was “very proud to announce” that the end of the shutdown would ensure that the government will be funded until 15 February, BBC reported. He described federal workers reeling from non-payment of their salaries as “incredible patriots” and said they will receive full back-pay.
The US president said he would not opt for “a very powerful alternative” yet, an apparent reference to declaring a national emergency.
“Let me be very clear: We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” Trump said. “If we do not get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency. We will have great security.”
A shutdown occurs when the US Congress fails to pass spending bills of the federal budget. The latest shutdown blocked funds for nine of 15 cabinet-level departments and several agencies, including the Departments of Homeland Security, Transportation, Interior, Agriculture, State and Justice, AP reported. The shutdown also left 8,00,000 federal workers without pay.