Longest government shutdown in US history comes to an end

President Trump signed a bill on Jan. 25 to reopen the government until Feb. 15 while border wall negotiations continue

By Dylan Harris, News Editor

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history came to an end, at least temporarily, on Friday, Jan. 25. President Donald Trump agreed to a bill that will reopen the federal government until Feb. 15.

The $5.7 billion that Trump demanded for the controversial border wall was not included in the bill, however Trump and Congress plan to continue these negotiations.

“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 Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” Trump said during his press conference.

Despite Trump’s plans to continue discussions regarding border wall funding, Democrats have still given no indication that they will agree to providing wall money.

“The president thought he could crack Democrats, and he didn’t, and I hope it’s a lesson for him,” Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said.

The bill includes back pay for roughly 800,000 federal government employees.

“I will make sure that all employees receive their back pay very quickly, or as soon as possible,” Trump said.

While many across the country have been affected by the shutdown, students at EWU did not feel the impact with regards to financial aid and grants, as reported by The Easterner’s Nicolas Zerbe on Jan. 23.

While financial aid delays were not a problem at EWU, it is safe to assume that there are likely members of the EWU community who have friends or family members that were affected by the shutdown.

Another aspect of the 35-day shutdown was the decision of when Trump would deliver his State of the Union address. Trump and Democrat House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed upon Feb. 5 for the address.

“When I wrote to you on January 23rd, I stated that we should work together to find a mutually agreeable date when government has reopened to schedule this year’s State of the Union address,” Pelosi wrote in a letter provided to CNN. “In our conversation today, we agreed on February 5th.”

While hundreds of thousands of federal workers can rejoice for the time being, there are numerous Republican critics who have expressed disappointment that the president ended the shutdown without securing funding for the wall. Conservative commentator Ann Coulter called Trump “the biggest wimp” in a tweet.

Democrats have remained outspoken against funding a border wall that Trump previously said Mexico would pay for, but they say they are open to other technology that could improve security.

Despite concerns from those in favor of continuing the shutdown until money for a border wall was guaranteed, Trump’s approval ratings continued to drop as the shutdown dragged on.

The Easterner will continue to follow this story as negotiations proceed and the Feb. 15 deadline approaches.