President Trump announced this afternoon he will sign legislation to reopen the government for three weeks – until Feb. 15 -- and that more than 800,000 furloughed federal workers will receive back pay “very quickly or as soon as possible.”
Employees of federal agencies left unfunded by the standoff missed a second straight paycheck on Friday.
Speaking from the White House Rose Garden beginning at about 2:20 p.m., Trump said the temporary reopening would allow congressional leaders to continue to negotiate funding for a border wall, the issue that has kept the government partially closed for a record-breaking 35 days.
Trump continued to defend the need for a border wall while saying it is time to put partisan politics aside "to put security of the country first."
Trump praised federal workers as “incredible patriots” who have suffered as a result of the standoff between himself and Democratic leaders of the House of Representatives, who have so far refused to agree to the $5.7 billion he has demanded for additional barriers between the U.S. and Mexico borders.
“Not only did you not complain, but in many cases you encouraged me to keep going because you care so much about our country and border security,” Trump said of federal workers.
Trump went on to defend the need for a border wall, citing drugs, human trafficking and crime as reasons for such a barrier.
Trump also threatened to close the government again after Feb. 15 if he doesn’t receive a “fair deal” from Congress.
“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier. If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress our government will either shut down again or I will use the powers afforded to me… to address this emergency,” Trump said.
Reporters could be heard shouting questions to the president about the indictment Friday of Roger Stone, a friend of the president’s. Trump walked away from the podium, seemingly ignoring the reporters’ questions.