WASHINGTON (KDKA/AP) – President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has reached a deal and will reopen the government for three weeks so that border security negotiations may continue.
President Trump says he’ll sign legislation shortly to reopen shuttered government departments for three weeks – until Feb. 15.
Trump’s action would end what has become a record, 35-day partial shutdown.
Some 800,000 federal workers have had to work without pay or have been kept from doing their jobs as Trump and congressional Democrats were locked in a stalemate over the billions of dollars that Trump has demanded to build a U.S.-Mexico border wall.
Democratic Senator Bob Casey released the following statement in response to the president’s remarks on the shutdown:
“President Trump has finally agreed to end the shutdown he created and that is a victory for federal workers and the American people. It should not have taken 36 days of pain to our Nation’s workers and families for President Trump to accept the same agreement that was on the table when the shutdown began. Now with the government about to reopen, Democrats and Republicans can discuss ways to effectively secure the border instead of building a wall that security experts say won’t work.”
Republican Senator Pat Toomey released the following statement:
“I am glad the government is reopening and 800,000 federal employees are getting paid.
“Over the next three weeks, the president and Congress will have an opportunity to craft a workable solution. As I have said all along, the obvious, necessary resolution is a compromise that improves border security – including physical barriers where they make sense – and delivers on some Democrat priorities, too. I hope Democrats, who promised to negotiate in good faith if the government were open, will now compromise with the president so the country can put this frustrating episode behind us.”
Democratic Representative Conor Lamb issued the following statement:
“This shutdown has been a nightmare for hundreds of thousands of federal employees, their families, and the millions of Americans who rely on our federal workforce. I’m relieved it is finally coming to an end so people can go back to work and get paid for the work they’ve done.
“I’m grateful to those in Congress who repeatedly crossed party lines to support this bipartisan solution and end the shutdown, and I hope that spirit of bipartisanship continues over the next three weeks as we negotiate on the most effective ways to secure the border.
“We don’t need another shutdown or the declaration of a national emergency. We just need to talk to experts, look at the facts and do what we were sent here to do – compromise and get things done.”
Democratic Senator Joe Manchin, of West Virginia, released the following statement:
“I’m glad the government is finally reopening. This politically-motivated and extremely hurtful shutdown has harmed millions of Americans and West Virginians. I look forward to working in a bipartisan way to fix our border security and immigration problems.”
Republican Senator Shelley Moore Capito, of West Virginia, released the following statement:
“I am pleased the president has reached a deal to end the partial government shutdown so our federal employees in West Virginia and across the country can get back to work. I am grateful to them and their families for all they do every day on behalf of our nation. I look forward to the work of the conference committee and continuing the important discussion on the significant issue of border security.”
Trump spoke at the White House on Friday as intensifying delays at some of the nation’s busiest airports and widespread disruptions brought new urgency to efforts to break the impasse.
Several flights were delayed at Pittsburgh International Airport Friday due to the government shutdown.
The problems originated at New York’s LaGuardia Airport, where flights were delayed due to a staffing problem, the FAA said.
“We have experienced a slight increase in sick leave at two air traffic control facilities affecting New York and Florida. As with severe storms, we will adjust operations to a safe rate to match available controller resources,” the Federal Aviation Administration said in a statement. “We’ve mitigated the impact by augmenting staffing, rerouting traffic, and increasing spacing between aircraft as needed. The results have been minimal impacts to efficiency while maintaining consistent levels of safety in the national airspace system. The public can monitor air traffic at fly.faa.gov and they should check with airline carriers for more information.”
Pittsburgh International Airport said three outbound flights and four inbound flights were delayed due to the staffing issues in LaGuardia.
All the delayed flights were going to or coming from LaGuardia. There have been no reports of flights being delayed at Pittsburgh due to FAA staffing at the airport.
“So, right now, we’re seeing delays on the majority of our flights going in and out of LaGuardia here to Pitt. We have about 15 flights a day to LaGuardia, and about half of those have been delayed so far,” said Allegheny County Airport Authority spokesman Bob Kerlik.
He urged passengers to check their flight times before coming to the airport.
“We advise passengers to please check with your airline before coming to the airport to get the latest on your delay, so you’re not waiting at the airport extra time,” he said.
Meanwhile, Kerlik said the airport operations team made plans for this weekend should more flights be impacted by the shutdown.
“We are preparing a stranded passenger plan for this weekend,” Kerlik said. “If this issue with the FAA gets any worse, we are a designated diversion airport for the northeast, meaning that we could get flights that would be diverted here if they have trouble getting into New York or Philadelphia or DC, so we’re making preparations in the event that we do see those passengers here.”
CBS News’ Kris van Cleave reported the air traffic control staffing problems originated at Washington and Jacksonville’s Air Route Traffic Control Centers. The two centers handle flights en route between destinations, van Cleave reported.
There were delays at Newark Liberty International Airport, Philadelphia and Tampa, van Cleave reported.
CBS News reported that departures at LaGuardia were likely to be delayed all day.
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