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U.S. Government Shutdown Over, At Least For Now

Updated

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks about a deal to end the partial government shutdown at the White House in Washington, D.C., on January 25. REUTERS/Jim Young

The longest ever government shutdown in U.S. history is over -- at least temporarily -- after 35 days.

Both the House of Representatives and the Senate on January 25 quickly and unanimously voted in favor of legislation that will fund shuttered government agencies until February 15.

President Donald Trump later signed the legislation, although it includes no new funding for his southern border barrier.

Standing alone in the Rose Garden earlier, Trump still made the case for a border wall and maintained he might again shut down the government over it.

Yet, as negotiations restart, Trump enters them from a weakened position. Recent polls found Trump bore the blame for the shutdown.

"If we don't get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15, again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and constitution of the United States to address this emergency," Trump said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer vowed at a news conference to never again allow American workers to be held hostage due to a budget dispute.

Pelosi said she was optimistic that the government would not shut down again at the end of the three weeks and said she looked forward to bipartisan cooperation.

Some 800,000 federal workers have either been idled or are working without pay as a result of the shutdown.

Democrats say Trump shut the government in a "temper tantrum" by refusing to sign bipartisan funding legislation last year that did not include the $5 billion he has demanded for his wall.

Trump says the wall is needed to slow the flow of illegal immigrants and drugs that enter the United States from Mexico.

Democrats and other critics doubt or deny the country even needs such a barrier, accusing Trump of twisting facts and figures to overstate the scope of any problem along the country’s southern border.

The shutdown has caused disruptions in government-related activities.

Earlier on January 25, airports in several key hubs in the Eastern United States reported major delays because a shortage of air-traffic controllers, many of whom have called in sick after being required to work without pay.

With reporting by Reuters and AP
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