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Congress clears stop-gap Bill to end government shutdown, Trump sends warning

January 28, 2019

Update 7 (1942ET): As expected Congress easily advanced the three-week funding bill, and is now headed to Trump’s desk where he is expected to sign it later Friday.

However, President Trump had the last word before he signs the bill, lashing out at those who claim he folded:

So, whether it’s Ann Coulter or Nancy Pelosi, we suspect someone got up Trump’s nose and we suspect that in three weeks, he will not quickly forget it.

*  *  *

Update 6 (1638ET): As expected, The Senate has just unanimously passed the three-week stopgap funding bill to end the partial government shutdown.

The House is now expected to pass the CR by unanimous consent Friday afternoon, setting the stage for Trump to sign the bill before day’s end.

Meanwhile, amid what Schumer called “good faith” discussions, The Hill reports that more than 50 House Democrats want to prevent President Trump from using future military funds to build his proposed border wall, even as the president has backed off from declaring a national emergency in order to do so.

In a letter led by Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.), and sent Friday, 51 lawmakers ask House Armed Service Committee Chairman Adam Smith (D-Wash.), to use the upcoming fiscal year 2020 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to prevent the U.S. military “from becoming a pawn in Trump’s immoral, wasteful, and potentially illegal border ‘wall.’”

The letter asks Smith to work to ensure that Trump and acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan “cannot utilize a fake ‘national emergency’ to co-opt the military into the construction of the President’s wall.”

The lawmakers also ask Smith to “continue to signal your intent to impose strong restrictions in the NDAA.”

*  *  *

Update 5 (1600ET): Never ones to miss the chance to gloat, Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi appeared side by side Friday afternoon ahead of what we assume will be a series of votes to pass the compromise bill to reopen the government (followed by three weeks of “good faith” negotiations). During their appearance, they bragged about Trump’s decision to come around to the Dems’ proposal, and insisted they were “optimistic” that the government wouldn’t shut down again.

Here’s a summary from CBS:

Schumer began the conference by thanking federal employees for working without pay during the shutdown, despite the “callous” treatment of the Trump administration which he said “belittled” workers’ financial struggles.

“We cannot ever hold American workers hostage again,” Schumer said.

Pelosi said that she looked forward to working in a “bipartisan, bicameral way” to pass bills to reopen the government. She also praised Democrats for holding firm on opposing a border wall during the shutdown.

“We’re grateful to Democrats on both sides of the Capitol for their unity. It’s sad, though, that it’s taken so long to come to an obvious conclusion,” Pelosi said. “Disagreement on policy should never be a reason to shut down the government.”

Pelosi said she was “optimistic” that the government would not shut down again at the end of the three-week CR. However, she seemed to reiterate her opposition to a border wall. She also said that “the state of the union is not planned now.”

Watch the full video of their remarks here:

Meanwhile, some of Trump’s most “loyal” supporters were angered by his decision to “cave” to the Democrats … though they sure had a funny way of expressing their displeasure.

* * *

Update 4 (2:40 pm ET): After keeping what seemed like the entire Washington press corp. waiting for nearly an hour, President Trump took to the podium in the Rose Garden on Friday to announce that he and Congressional Republicans had struck a deal with their Democratic colleagues to temporarily reopen the government for three weeks.

“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and re-open the federal government,” Trump said.

But while Trump conceded that the US doesn’t need “2,000 miles of concrete wall from sea to shining sea,” if Dems don’t work with him to strike a suitable deal that would include building “smart walls” in strategic locations across the border – the exact nature of the package will be determined with input from the experts at DHS – he would shut down the government again and call a national emergency to implement his border vision without the help of the Democrats (he started his speech by reminding his audience that he has a “very powerful” alternative …” that he didn’t want to use at this time. In what will come as a relief to the 800,000 federal workers going without pay, Trump said he would sign a bill to authorize back pay “as soon as possible.”

In what was perhaps the most memorable comment from the speech, Trump said he would rely on “smart walls” which he said would do the most to stop drugs and human traffickers from entering the US.

‘The walls we are building are not medieval walls, they’re smart walls … We do not need 2,000 miles of concrete wall, we never did, we never proposed that we never wanted that … because we have natural structures that are already there and they’ve been there for millions of years. Our structures will be in pre-determined high risk locations that have been previously identified by the border patrol…no border security plan can work without a physical barrier … it just doesn’t happen.

The smart walls would be equipped with sensors and other technology … as well as drones. Trump also said he would seek funding for more security at the nation’s ports to allow for “quicker and safer” commerce. Finally, it would also include “desperately needed” humanitarian assistance for those being “abused by coyotes – smugglers”.

In the middle of his speech, Trump launched on a lengthy tangent about human trafficking. Afterwards, the Hill reported that, at one point, a teleprompter in the Rose Garden read “talk about human trafficking” as the president ad-libbed and riffed.

Trump tweeted video of his entire speech.


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