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Trump signs bill to end 3-day government shutdown

Last updated on: January 23, 2018 19:42 IST

Claiming a “big win”, United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday signed a bill to end a three-day government shutdown after striking a deal with Democrats to hold a debate on the future of over 700,000 young undocumented immigrants.

Trump signed a bill into law after the House of Representatives voted 266 to 150 to extend federal funding for another three weeks.

Senate Democrats dropped their opposition to the plan after receiving a commitment from the ruling Republicans toward securing the fate of hundreds of thousands of so-called “Dreamers” illegally brought to America as children.

The stop-gap funding, passed both the Senate and House by large margins on Monday night. The spending bill passed the Senate by 81-18.

The measure funds the government till February 8, before which the Democrats and Republicans need to agree to a long-term solution to the government funding and on issues related to illegal immigration.

Claiming victory in his standoff with Democrats, Trump signed the measure into law and government operations would return to normal on Tuesday.

Thousands of federal employees who had been placed on temporary, unpaid leave since Saturday breathed a sigh of relief.

“Big win for Republicans as Democrats cave on shutdown,” Trump tweeted.

“I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children,” Trump said in a statement.

He said he will make a long-term deal on immigration only if it is good for the country and will work towards solving the problem, once the government is funded.

“As I have always said, once the government is funded, my administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country,” he said.

“We will vote today to reopen the government,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said earlier on the Senate floor, saying he and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had reached an “arrangement.”

McConnell reiterated the same on the Senate floor, adding the shutdown was distracting senators from focusing on passing legislation.

“I respect the passion that many of my friends in this chamber, Democrat and Republican alike bring to the major issue before the Senate, all of these issues,” McConnell said.

“But we should not let the political feuds or policy disagreements obscure the simple fact that every member of this body cares deeply about the challenges facing our country.”

The White House said it is ready to negotiate with the Democrats even if there is differences between the two.

“We’ve been very clear about what we want to see in any legislation, and I don’t think that there’s a whole lot of daylight between where we are and where the Democrats are. We certainly want to negotiate and get to a place, and we’re hopeful that we can do that over the next couple weeks,” White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters.

Following Democrats vote in the Senate to end the government shutdown, Sanders said the Democrats realise the position that they had taken, frankly, was indefensible.

Sanders indicated that there is no changes in the position of the Trump Administration on this.

There have been four government shutdowns since 1990. In the last one, in 2013, more than 800,000 government workers were put on temporary leave.

Image: A jogger runs pas the US Capitol during the third day of a government shutdown in Washington. Photograph: Leah Millis/Reuters 

Lalit K Jha
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