The longest government shutdown in U.S. history has ended as President Donald Trump addressed the nation this afternoon about reaching a temporary deal with Congress until Feb. 15.
The president gave his address from the Rose Garden on Friday afternoon claiming a victory for his proposed border wall deal, although the agreement to reopen the government for three weeks did not include funding for a border wall. The Senate and the House of Representatives first approved the deal and sent it to Trump for approval to end the 35-day-long shutdown, resume government operations and renegotiate the wall, or concrete barrier, at the southern border of the country.
During his speech, Trump thanked the nearly 800,000 furloughed workers and their families for their patience during the shutdown and called them “fantastic people” and “incredible patriots.”
The deal, though temporary, allows government workers to go back to work with pay and receive retroactive pay “very quickly” for the five weeks they did not receive wages.
Though the government shutdown is over for now, Trump reassured members of Congress and the American people during this address that he was not backing down from his proposed border wall.
“As everyone knows I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time,” Trump said during his address in the Rose Garden on Friday. “Hopefully it will be unnecessary.”
Trump is still requesting the $5.7 billion to build a wall along the Mexico-U.S. border, but assured the American people during his speech a deal will happen and show the world both parties are capable of coming together for the good of the nation.
“If we make a fair deal, the American people will be proud of their government for proving we can put country before party,” Trump said. “We can show all Americans and people all around the world that both political parties are united when it comes to protecting our country and protecting our people.
The end to the shutdown does not, for the moment, affect the president’s State of the Union address which was cancelled by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi Jan. 16. Pelosi stated in her letter to the president the State of the Union would not happen in the House Chambers while the government remained shut down.
During a press conference following Trump’s speech, a reporter asked Pelosi about the State of the Union and the reopened government. Pelosi remained firm in her position to not have the president give his State of the Union as originally scheduled on Tuesday, Jan. 29.
“The State of the Union is not planned now,” Pelosi said, according to CNN. “What I said to the president is when the government is open we will discuss a mutually agreeable date, and I’ll look forward to doing that and welcoming the president to the House of Representatives for the State of the Union when we agree on that.”