Shutdown ends without funding for Trump’s border wall

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Post-Mueller, Trump has a good story to tell for 2020 MORE signed a three-week funding bill on Friday night, formally bringing an end to the partial government shutdown without securing money for a border wall.

Trump skipped the fanfare of a public signing ceremony and instead signed the continuing resolution (CR) behind closed doors at the White House, less than 12 hours after he reversed course and said he had agreed to punt the funding fight. 

It was the latest sign that the shutdown, which consumed Washington for 35 days, is going out with a whimper. Earlier Friday, the legislation cleared the House by unanimous consent and the Senate by voice vote, an anticlimactic end to the weeks-long drama.

Trump warned Friday in announcing the three-week funding deal that if he cannot get a "fair deal" by next month the government could shut down again or he may declare a national emergency to sidestep Congress and build a border wall. Such a move would almost certainly draw legal challenges.

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The president's decision Friday to agree to end the shutdown without securing money for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border spawned immediate criticism from conservatives, who warned that he had weakened his negotiating position with Democrats going forward. 

Trump tried to defend himself from that criticism Friday night on Twitter, saying the deal was "in no way a concession." 

"I wish people would read or listen to my words on the Border Wall. This was in no way a concession. It was taking care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the Shutdown with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!" he wrote.

In exchange for Trump agreeing to fully reopen the government, the House and Senate formally went to conference Friday to try to hash out a deal on the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) appropriations bills, including border funding.

While House Democrats have been passing funding packages for weeks, the Senate vote on the short-term bill came only a day after the chamber rejected two proposals that would have reopened the government. But the calculus changed on Friday as federal workers impacted by the shutdown missed their second paycheck and news of delays at major airports across the country dominated the headlines.

The president said that after more than a month he had heard from enough Republicans and Democrats who were “willing to put partisanship aside — I think — and put the security of the American people first. I do believe they are going to do that.”

The 21-day stopgap bill will set up another deadline in mid-February for Trump and lawmakers to resolve the fight over construction of a border wall. Trump's demand for wall funding has been at the center of the budgetary stalemate that began Dec. 22.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellThe Hill's Morning Report - Will Joe Biden's unifying strategy work? Dems charge ahead on immigration Biden and Bernie set for clash MORE (R-Ky.) quickly endorsed the short-term plan on Friday, saying it would provide “room to negotiate a funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security." McConnell had voted against a two-week CR the previous day.

"Going forward, I hope our Democratic friends will stay true to the commitment they've stated constantly over the past weeks, that once government was reopened they'd be perfectly willing to negotiate in good faith on a full-year government funding that would include a significant investment in barriers,” McConnell said.

The Senate passed a stopgap bill late last month that would have funded the government through Feb. 8, but Trump caught lawmakers flat-footed when he said he would not support it because it did not include wall funding.

Underscoring their wariness, GOP senators largely declined to comment on the deal ahead of Trump’s announcement Friday, saying they wanted to wait to hear what he said. The Senate also recessed so senators could watch his speech.

The emergence of the three-week CR plan comes after a group of moderate senators discussed the idea for weeks and Sen. Lindsey GrahamLindsey Olin GrahamKushner saying immigration plan will be 'neutral' on legal admissions: report Africa's women can change a continent: Will Ivanka give them her full support? If you don't think illegal immigrants are voting for president, think again MORE (R-S.C.) called the president about the proposal on Thursday.

Trump had indicated that he did not support reopening the government without a deal on the U.S.-Mexico border wall. But in a sign that he was softening his position, he said Thursday he would accept “pro-rated” funding in exchange for a short-term bill.

“I would note that after the failed votes, a bipartisan group of 16 senators came to the floor and each one of us indicated a willingness to compromise. And today I am pleased that there is real progress,” said Sen. Susan CollinsSusan Margaret CollinsMcConnell pledges to be 'Grim Reaper' for progressive policies Senate Republicans tested on Trump support after Mueller Collins: Mueller report includes 'an unflattering portrayal' of Trump MORE (R-Maine), a member of the bipartisan group.

Sen. Lisa MurkowskiLisa Ann MurkowskiOn The Money: Cain withdraws from Fed consideration | Says he didn't want 'pay cut' | Trump sues to block subpoena for financial records | Dems plot next move in Trump tax-return battle Cain withdraws from Fed consideration Cain says he 'won't run away from criticism' in push for Fed seat MORE (R-Alaska) added that while she was glad there was a deal, she said the funding lapse that sparked the longest shutdown in U.S. history shouldn’t have happened in the first place.

“I think it is good that we are standing here on the Senate floor and acknowledging that with the news that the president has just announced that the government will reopen as early as today,” she said. “[But] this never should have happened. ... There’s never a good reason to have a government shutdown in the first place.”

Several senators stayed in town on Friday, saying they were optimistic an agreement could emerge after McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerMJ Hegar announces Texas Senate bid Hillicon Valley: House Dems subpoena full Mueller report | DOJ pushes back at 'premature' subpoena | Dems reject offer to view report with fewer redactions | Trump camp runs Facebook ads about Mueller report | Uber gets B for self-driving cars Dem legal analyst says media 'overplayed' hand in Mueller coverage MORE (D-N.Y.) huddled on Thursday after the Senate rejected a funding bill that included $5.7 billion for the wall and a narrower two-week CR.

During the meeting, Schumer pitched McConnell on passing a three-week CR with an agreement that Congress would go to conference on the DHS bill, according to a senior Senate Democratic aide.

Schumer and McConnell "then spoke on the phone several times on Friday to discuss plans for how to pass the CR through the Senate and get to conference. Schumer read in Speaker [Nancy] Pelosi, who was on the same page," the source added, referring to the California Democrat who leads the lower chamber.

Trump could face an uphill, if not impossible, battle to get Congress to approve money for a physical wall. Democrats had offered Trump $1.3 billion but stressed that it could only be used toward fencing. They've also supported billions in funding for broader border security including increased surveillance technology.

In a sign of the debate to come, after the White House tweeted that rank-and-file Democrats were willing to provide wall funding, Senate Democrats responded on Friday night: "Is this a parody account?" 

Democrats appeared newly emboldened by Trump's decision to reopen the government without wall funding, seesawing between lashing out at the president and celebrating the end of the stalemate. 

“This shutdown never should have happened in the first place — we’re in the exact same place we were five weeks ago, but our workers, our economy, and our country have seriously suffered,” said Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy Jean KlobucharDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Spicer: 'Near impossible' for 2020 Democrats to refuse Fox News debate James Comey, wife donated ,400 to Klobuchar's presidential campaign MORE (D-Minn.). “The president needs to stop playing games, end the threats, and allow the country to get back to work.”

Sen. Bernie SandersBernard (Bernie) SandersDemocrats' CNN town halls exposed an extreme agenda Buttigieg says he doubts Sanders can win general election Meghan McCain: Bernie Sanders supporting prisoners being able to vote 'bats**t insane' MORE (I-Vt.) also blasted Trump as “pathetic.”

“Let us not forget for a second that five weeks ago the United States unanimously — every Republican, every Democrat — voted for essentially the same legislation that will likely pass today,” he said during a Senate floor speech.

Schumer and Pelosi took a victory lap on Friday afternoon during a joint press conference. The two have worked to remain in lockstep throughout the funding fight and Schumer quipped on Friday that “no one should ever underestimate the Speaker, as Donald Trump has learned.”

“Our Democrats stayed totally unified,” Schumer said. “He knew that it was a lost cause.”

Updated at 9:26 p.m.