Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Georgetown University’s Newspaper of Record since 1920

The Hoya

Government Reopens Amid Ongoing Border Wall Negotiations

The longest government shutdown in U.S. history ended Friday after a 35-day partisan standoff between President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) over immigration policy.

Trump signed a bill Jan. 25 that fully reopens the government until Feb. 15. The bill does not contain funding for a border wall, a demand of Trump’s that Democrats refused to fulfill, which resulted in the standoff that led to the partial government shutdown.

Beyond funding the government for three weeks, the bill establishes bipartisan House and Senate committees tasked with drafting a border security agreement to be added to a spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security.

The bill also guarantees the roughly 800,000 federal employees furloughed during the shutdown will receive back pay after having missed two paychecks. Federal employees returned to work Monday and will receive their missed wages as soon as possible, but the exact timing will vary by agency, according to The Hill.

ARCHITECT OF THE CAPITOL | Federal employees were able to return to work Monday for the 35 days after the government reopened following its longest shutdown.

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (SFS ’89) told CBS News that Federal employees should receive their back pay before Sunday,

“We hope that by the end of this week, all of the back pay will be made up and, of course, the next payroll will go out on time,” Mulvaney said.

Numerous federal agencies have begun to reopen and return to normal operations. Sonny Perdue, Trump’s Secretary of Agriculture, thanked employees who worked without pay in a Jan. 25 news release. Thousands of employees will be able to return to work due to the reopening, Perdue said.

“President Trump’s announcement of the reopening of the federal government is welcome news, as it will bring thousands of our employees back to work and return us to our mission of providing our customers with the services they rely upon,” Perdue said.

Despite not getting the funds he demanded, Trump claimed victory in a Rose Garden speech on Friday. Though congressional Democrats did not declare triumph over Trump, many, including Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), saw the standoff as a show of strength from House Democrats and Pelosi.

“No one should ever underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned,” Schumer said to the Washington Post.

Trump continued to demand border wall funding be included in the agreement in his Friday Rose Garden address.

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th, again or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution of the United States to address this emergency,” Trump said.

The National Governors Association had penned a Jan. 7 letter to the federal government three weeks ago calling for the shutdown to end. After the end of the shutdown, NGA chair, Montana Governor Steve Bullock (D-Mont.), and NGA vice chair, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan (R-Md.), released a statement Jan. 25.

“The NGA is grateful that the president and Congress came to a short-term agreement to reopen the government, and is hopeful that they can find a long-term compromise on issues currently dividing the nation,” the letter said.

While the reopening of the government is a step in the right direction, Congress still needs address the issue of border security, which has yet to be resolved, according to Todd Schulte, president of, an immigration and criminal justice reform activist group.

“We call on Congress also to urgently address the crisis facing Dreamers and TPS holders, whose lives have been thrown into chaos due to the actions of the Trump Administration,” Schulte said in a Jan. 25 news release. “This is a true crisis; there is absolutely no reason for delay.”

Additionally, Congress needs to consider a funding bill that gives federal workers guaranteed pay, according to Richard Trumka, president of the AFL-CIO, the largest federation of labor unions in the United States.

“Federal workers urgently need their back pay distributed; in the case of federal contractors, they still need it to be authorized. And both deserve a long-term funding bill — not one that leaves them hanging with just a single guaranteed paycheck,” Trumka said in a Jan. 25 news release. “This is a temporary fix to an extraordinary failure of governance.

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