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Trump announces deal to lift shutdown

BY: The BBC
We have reached a deal - Trump
We have reached a deal - Trump

US President Donald Trump has endorsed a deal to reopen the US government for three weeks, after a record-breaking shutdown of federal agencies.

But the pact does not include any money that Mr Trump has demanded for a US-Mexico border wall.

The Republican president previously vowed to reject any such bill unless it included $5.7bn (£4.3bn) to fund his signature campaign pledge.

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But Democrats, who control the House of Representatives, have flatly refused.

What did President Trump say?
Speaking on day 35 of the shutdown in the White House Rose Garden, Mr Trump said he was "very proud to announce" the agreement would fund the government until 15 February.

He said federal workers affected by the political imbroglio, whom he called "incredible patriots", would receive full back-pay.

Mr Trump also said he had decided at this time not to resort to "a very powerful alternative" - an apparent reference to declaring a national emergency.

This could divert military funding towards building a southern border wall, but such a proclamation would provoke constitutional uproar and legal challenges.

However, the president added: "We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier.

"If we don't get a fair deal from Congress the government will either shut down on February 15 again.

"Or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the constitution of the United States to address this emergency."

What next?
Speaking just after the president's announcement, Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell said on the chamber floor he hoped Democrats would negotiate "on good faith" with Republicans about border security.

His Democratic counterpart, Chuck Schumer, expressed optimism that an agreement could be reached.

"I genuinely hope that this process can produce something that is good for the country and acceptable to both sides," the New York senator said.

He added that while the parties disagreed on certain details, both sides agree on some issues including the need to "strengthen security at our ports of entry".

At a joint news conference with Mr Schumer, the Democratic leader of the House of Representatives, Speaker Nancy Pelosi, said: "I can't assure the public on anything that the president will do, but I do have to say I'm optimistic."

Credit: The BBC