WASHINGTON - President Donald Trump signed a measure late Friday to reopen the federal government for three weeks, ending the longest shutdown in U.S. history even though the bipartisan legislation included no additional money for his proposed border wall.
The bill, which breezed through Congress in a matter of hours by unanimous voice votes, capped a 35-day partial shutdown that exposed the new power dynamic at play in a divided Washington and set off negotiations to avoid a repeat outcome when the money runs out again next month.
“We have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government," Trump said during a hastily arranged address in the White House Rose Garden.
Trump's decision to back the deal came amid mounting pressure from members of Congress to end the impasse and in the face of public opinion polls showing that most Americans blamed him and Republicans for the shutdown. Pressure to reopen the government intensified as airports along the East Coast reported delays because of a lack of air traffic controllers.
Trump signed the bill at the White House privately, without reporters present – a contrast with House Democratic leaders, who scheduled a photo opportunity on Capitol Hill moments after the measured cleared that chamber. Trump took to Twitter to defend his decision to back the deal, which was quickly criticized by some conservatives in his party.
"This was in no way a concession," Trump insisted in a tweet late Friday. "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!"
"The wall should not be controversial," Trump said.