Government reopens; Trump casts pall on hope for wall deal
Hundreds of thousands of federal employees returned to work on Monday with a presidential promise of a paycheck “very quickly” but no guarantee that they will be working in three weeks, when a temporary stopgap of funding expires.
President Donald Trump and congressional Democrats arrived at a short-term agreement late on Friday, reopening the government after 35 days and the longest government shutdown in history. Lawmakers have until Feb. 15 to reach a compromise on the Republican request for billions of dollars to be allocated for a border wall – a wall Democrats have refused to fund.
Referring to the odds that a deal could be struck over that time, Trump told the Wall Street Journal on Sunday, “I personally think it’s less than 50-50.” Trump said he would use emergency powers to fund the wall if an agreement could not be reached.
In a stark reminder that federal employees were returning to work with the knowledge that they might be forced to go without a paycheck once again next month, one federal agency, the Department of Agriculture, updated its employee information website and said, “We will also leave some of the shutdown-related material up for a period time, should you need to refer back to it.”
Richard Nagle, a lawyer with
Transportation Security Administration workers screen airline passengers at Reagan Washington National Airport in Washington on Monday as federal workers and government contract workers return to their jobs, ending the record 35-day partial federal shutdown.