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Lawmakers end US gov’t shutdown

Updated

By AFP

Washington – US federal workers prepared to return to work Tuesday after Congress ended a three-day government shutdown, with President Donald Trump claiming victory in his standoff with Democrats.

The House voted 266 to 150 to extend federal funding for another three weeks, hours after Senate Democrats dropped their opposition to the plan after winning Republican assurances of a vote on immigration in the coming weeks.

Trump signed the measure into law Monday night and government operations were essentially to return to normal on Tuesday.

“I know there’s great relief that this episode is coming to an end,” House Speaker Paul Ryan told colleagues. “But this is not a moment to pat ourselves on the back. Not even close.”

The stalemate consumed Washington for the better part of a week, as lawmakers and the White House feuded over immigration policy and the nation’s two main political parties exchanged bitter barbs before finally reaching a deal.

The shutdown began at midnight Friday and thus affected only one regular workday – Monday – but it made both parties look bad. If it had continued, hundreds of thousands of federal employees would have been furloughed.

Democrats decided to end the shutdown after making progress with ruling Republicans toward securing the fate of hundreds of thousands of so-called “Dreamers” brought to America as children, many of them illegally. They had been protected from deportation under an Obama-era program known as DACA, which Trumps wants to end.

With Democratic support, a bill keeping the government funded until February 8 easily passed the Senate, where different versions of the funding had languished for days.

Word of the compromise deal struck in Washington sent US stocks surging to new highs.

Earlier, the White House appeared in no mood for bipartisanship or magnanimity after a shutdown that overshadowed Trump’s first anniversary in office.

Trump moved to undercut Democrats, saying he would only accept a comprehensive immigration reform – one that notably addresses his demands for a border wall with Mexico as well as the fate of the “Dreamers.”

“We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country,” he said in a statement.

And in a tweet late Monday, he again cried victory over the Democrats.

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