President Donald Trump agreed to reopen the federal government for about three weeks without any guarantee Congress would provide money for his proposed border wall, his top campaign promise, capitulating to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Trump agreed Friday to a deal hastily negotiated by lawmakers after the 35-day shutdown, the longest in modern U.S. history, began to seriously impact air travel. Earlier in the day, LaGuardia Airport in New York was briefly closed due to a shortage of air traffic controllers, exacerbating flight delays across the country.
Under terms of the agreement, Trump will sign a short-term spending bill through Feb. 15 and Congress will immediately begin negotiating border security legislation.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the chamber will vote “immediately” on the deal. House passage also is required and could happen immediately unless a member objects. In that case, House members would have to return to Washington for a floor vote.
The president threatened that if a final deal doesn’t include money for a wall, he would either shut down the government again or declare a national emergency that he says would allow him to begin construction without congressional approval.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” Trump told reporters in the White House Rose Garden. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress the government will either shut down on Feb. 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.”