Evan Vucci / AP

Short-Term Deal Ends Longest-Ever Shutdown

Congress quickly passes stopgap spending measure after Trump thanks "incredible federal workers."

Federal agencies are set to reopen after lawmakers and President Trump reached an agreement to end the partial government shutdown, at least temporarily.

Congress quickly passed a three-week stopgap spending measure, which will bring an end to the longest-ever government shutdown, and Trump signed it into law on Friday night. The measure does not include any increased funding for Trump’s proposed wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, which the president had said must be part of any deal to reopen the government. It will fund agencies for three weeks, through Feb. 15.  

More than 800,000 federal employees are now poised to receive their first paycheck since late December. About 300,000 of those are home on furlough, but Trump recently signed a measure guaranteeing their back pay. As of Friday, the government had racked up a bill of more than $3 billion to pay employees not to work.

At the White House on Friday, Trump said he would ensure federal employees would receive their back pay “very quickly, or as soon as possible.” He also thanked them for their service and praised those who worked without pay, calling them “incredible patriots.”

“I want to thank all the incredible federal workers and their amazing families who have shown such amazing devotion in the face of this recent hardship,” Trump said. “Many of you have suffered far greater, far more than anyone but your families would know or understand.”

The breakthrough occurred after repeated attempts by Congress over the last month to pass a stopgap bill were rejected by the White House, and only after agencies have been increasingly crippled by the ongoing appropriations lapse. Those that had survived the opening weeks of the shutdown relatively unscathed were starting to run out of leftover funds, and “excepted” employees being forced to work without pay were increasingly calling out sick or due to financial hardship. On Friday, major airports saw disruptions as large numbers of air traffic controllers refused to come to work.

The Senate had not held any votes attempting to reopen government until Thursday, when it rejected both a proposal with wall funding and immigration reforms put forward by Trump and a “clean” continuing resolution. Senate leaders Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., subsequently began negotiations for the new CR plan.

McConnell called the agreement a "good outcome" reached on a bipartisan plan, though many Democrats noted the Senate voted unanimously for a three-week CR in the week before the shutdown started before Trump voiced his opposition to that plan. 

"It's a fiscal plan both sides are willing to accept and hopefully we will have good-faith negotiations over the next three weeks to try to resolve our differences over border security," McConnell said. 

Schumer declared victory on the Senate floor, saying the president had agreed to Democrats' request to end the shutdown and then resume negotiations. Congress will convene a bipartisan, bicameral conference committee on the Homeland Security Department funding bill in an effort to strike a compromise on border security spending. Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., agreed it would mark an improvement to restart negotiations once federal employees are back at work and getting paid. 

"Obviously it's very beneficial to be able to have negotiations while everyone is getting paid and everything is still going on," Lankford said. That's much better for federal employees and for the country as a whole." Asked whether the shutdown was a worthwhile endeavor, he added "time will tell" whether both sides actually come together to negotiate. 

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., thanked federal employees and said they should never be "held hostage" again.

"We value their purpose, we appreciate their diligence in performing their jobs," Pelosi said. "We don't want in any way any shutdown of government to diminish the respect that we have for the purpose of our public employees and the excellence of their service."

Some lawmakers expressed consternation with what finally motivated both sides to come together and reopen government, noting that federal employees have been suffering for weeks.

“People have gone without food, medicine and gas in their car because of this shutdown, but delayed flights are what brings us to this moment?” Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, asked on the Senate floor Friday. “Shame on us.”

Federal agencies will soon begin the laborious process of reopening, which will involve communicating with furloughed employees—banned from using government devices and email—to bring them back to work and addressing backlogs piled up due to missed time.

Trump used his address to again pitch the importance of his wall and hinted that he could still declare a national emergency to fund it or even force another government shutdown on Feb. 15 if he felt that was necessary to ensure funding for border security. Pelosi also said she could not guarantee there would not be another shutdown in three weeks. 

"I can't assure the public on anything the president will do," Pelosi said, "but I do have to say I'm optimistic."

Sign up for GovExec newsletters and alerts and download our app to stay informed.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.