The longest federal government shutdown in the country’s history now seems to be over, at least temporarily, and Arlington’s congressional delegation is feeling cautiously optimistic.
President Trump announced today (Friday) that he would sign a bill to fund the vast majority of government agencies for the next three weeks, through Feb. 15, as Congress continues to negotiate on Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to construct a wall on the country’s southern border.
So long as lawmakers, and Trump himself, follow through on this plan, the government would re-open for the first time in 35 days. The proposed funding deal does not include any money for a wall, in a capitulation for the president, who orchestrated the shutdown in order to force a conflict over funding for one of his signature campaign promises.
The tentative deal strikes Northern Virginia’s representatives as quite good news indeed, as many had spent the shutdown railing against its impact on federal workers and the region’s economy, arguing that the shutdown was all in service of a goal that few Americans support.
It looks like we have a deal to end this pointless shutdown that has harmed so many Americans. Let’s make sure this never happens again.
— Mark Warner (@MarkWarner) January 25, 2019
FINALLY!! A callous, pointless shutdown that caused nothing but harm & hurt the thousands of Federal workers in Arlington & Fairfax.
Fascinating…Trump finally took the deal given to him by Democrats back in late Dec. – with no border wall funding… https://t.co/05dgbDJDwf
— Alfonso Lopez (@Lopez4VA) January 25, 2019
I'm relieved on behalf of Virginia's 177,000 federal workers and their families that the government is reopening. This cannot happen again.
— Ralph Northam (@GovernorVA) January 25, 2019
Of course, Rep. Don Beyer (D-8th District) did point out that Trump is currently backing a deal Democrats offered him back in late December.
“I’m grateful that the shutdown will end soon, but I do not understand why it happened at all,” Beyer wrote in a statement. “Why did President Trump inflict this shutdown on the country?… It inflicted extreme pain on the people I represent, and there was no reason for it. As the president approaches the new deadline he just agreed to for the expiration of government funding, he must think of people besides himself. This must never happen again.”
Trump said in his speech Friday that he plans to ensure that federal workers receive back pay to cover the costs of the month-long shutdown “very quickly or as soon as possible.”
Businesses around Arlington and the rest of D.C. had rallied together to offer a variety of deals to support furloughed workers, while the county itself offered limited financial aid as well. Metro’s leaders had even contemplated making rides free for federal workers in a vote this afternoon, but officials have backed off from those plans.
In light of this afternoon's White House announcement that the Federal Government will reopen, Metro's Board will not meet today to consider free rides for federal employees. #wmata
— Metro (@wmata) January 25, 2019
Photo via @whitehouse