On Friday, President Trump announced a temporary halt to the government shutdown C-Span
On Friday, President Trump announced a temporary halt to the government shutdown C-Span

Washington – The pact between congressional Democrats and President Donald Trump to temporarily end a 35-day partial government shutdown is more of a truce than the end of hostilities.

The agreement, announced by Trump Friday afternoon from the Rose Garden at the White House, will allow about 1,500 federal employees in Connecticut affected by the shutdown to receive all back pay due them.

As soon Trump announced the deal, labor unions representing federal workers demanded the government make a “special run” to provide paychecks for those who have worked, or been furloughed  without pay for weeks.

The “Government Employee Fair Treatment Act,” passed by Congress and signed into law on Jan. 16, requires federal employees affected by the shutdown to receive their back pay at the “earliest date possible” after the government reopens, regardless of the next regular scheduled pay date.

If so, federal workers could receive their back pay as soon as Wednesday.

“As the shutdown created more suffering for hardworking people by the day, we are relieved that the government is set to reopen but we will not give up the fight until our members get the back pay the president promised and they deserve,” said Juan Hernandez, Vice-President of 32BJ Service Employees International Union Connecticut.

Congress on Friday rushed to send a bill that would end the shutdown until Feb. 15  to the president’s desk. The reopening of the federal government will restart grants to Connecticut non-profits and government agencies and restart a number of services that have been unavailable.

But the legislation does not contain any money for Trump’s border wall, allowing instead for negotiations on that issue.

“If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on Feb. 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,” Trump said, referring to his potential use of executive power to fund the border wall as a matter of national security.

Still, Trump blinked after the Federal Aviation Administration temporarily halted flights into New York’s LaGuardia Airport on Friday because of a shortage of air-traffic controllers, a disruption that cascaded through East Coast airports such as Newark Liberty International and Philadelphia International Airport.

Connecticut Airport Authority Executive Director Kevin Dillon said on Friday, “While there is currently no operational impact at Bradley International Airport due to the government shutdown, sooner or later there might be.”

“The shutdown needs to be brought to conclusion,” Dillon said.

Coordinated sickouts by thousands of Internal Revenue Service agents tasked with processing tax refunds without pay also raised the political stakes over the shutdown, as did public sympathy for the hardships experienced by unpaid federal workers.

The shutdown began on Dec. 22 after congressional Democrats and Trump could not agree on border wall funding and appropriations lapsed for nine major government agencies and several smaller ones.

Connecticut’s Democratic lawmakers lauded the temporary return to normalcy offered by the agreement.

“I hope that this moment marks an end to the chaos and instability we have seen over the past 35 days, and that both parties can get back to the important work of governing our country responsibly,” said Rep. Rosa DeLauro, D-3rd District. “The President must end his use of hostage taking for his manufactured crisis at the border once and for all.”

Gov. Ned Lamont encouraged “everyone to come to the table in good faith to find a way to reopen the government permanently and in a way that best underscores the values of our country and our people.”

“Regardless, our state agencies will continue contingency planning so we’re prepared to support Connecticut federal workers and taxpayers alike,” Lamont said.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., said “I hope this is the end of President Trump’s temper tantrums and the start of real Congressional leadership as we move ahead with a long-term spending plan and border security negotiations.”

Trump said that a congressional conference committee would spend the next three weeks working in a bipartisan fashion to come up with a border security package.

The bipartisan panel is expected to be composed of members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees. But it wasn’t immediately clear Friday if Connecticut’s members of those panels, DeLauro and Sen. Chris Murphy, will be involved.

Speculation on a deal that would reopen the federal government permanently includes funding for what Democrats call “fencing,” and perhaps a bill to protect young immigrants known as Dreamers and other immigrants who are slated to lose their protections from deportation.

Some Democrats blasted Trump for not accepting earlier proposals that would have temporarily kept the federal government open.

“So Trump is agreeing to the EXACT SAME DEAL he rejected 35 days ago. What a debacle. I’m so, so sorry, America,” Murphy tweeted.

Rep. Joe Courtney, D-2nd District, tweeted that Trump’s “announcement today will provide some relief for employees who have been grossly mistreated over the past 35 days. Still, this deal is the same one that could have passed in December, avoiding the #shutdown. What is clear is that a shutdown should never be used as leverage again.”

Meanwhile, Republicans sought to portray the breakthrough as a softening of the Democratic position on the shutdown.

“After the longest government shutdown in history and after government workers missed two pay periods, Democrats have finally decided to come to the table and negotiate,” said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif. “Now is the time to put people before politics and solve this problem.”

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Ana has written about politics and policy in Washington, D.C.. for Gannett, Thompson Reuters and UPI. She was a special correspondent for the Miami Herald, and a regular contributor to The New York TImes, Advertising Age and several other publications. She has also worked in broadcast journalism, for CNN and several local NPR stations. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland School of Journalism.

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7 Comments

  1. By doing this Trump can say he ended the pain and now the Dems must come to the table with money for a wall or another shutdown will be all on them!

    1. What is unfortunate is that all sides will put their respective spins on who caved and who promised what and on February 15th there will still be nothing resolved. Sorry to be pessimistic, but this seems to be the sorry state of affairs. Does anyone on any side remember what ‘compromise’ means?

  2. Good to see that all of the facts were included in this article. Oh yea except some of the facts the President said in his remarks. Now will the democrats deal in good faith as they said they would? Will Delauro, Murphy and Courtney allow negotiations or will they say this border wall is still a manufactured crisis? Did any reporter from the media ask that question? Is CT delegation to negotiate or is this follow the bunch democrat heads? Will this Washington reporter ask the democrats if they plan on voting on the proposal or will they just follow the nonsense that Shummer and Pelosi are selling? Will the Mirror report on all of the facts and not just the facts that back the liberal media mantra?

  3. “young immigrants known as Dreamers and other immigrants who are slated to lose their protections from deportation.”

    1) Calling them ‘immigrants’ is a misnomer. They are Illegal Aliens, Temporary (some almost 30 years ‘temporary’) Protected Status people, and legal aliens who have broken the law. The DACA program, like DAPA, must be declared unconstitutional.

    2) American citizens, Legal immigrants and their respective kids have dreams, too and they don’t include supporting as many Illegal Aliens as wish to come here outside of our laws.

    3) The question I always ask activist politicians–“What law will you allow a US citizen to break that will reward them or their families benefits potentially valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars?’ They always refuse to answer. They will, however, continue to attempt to strip American citizens of THEIR Rights.

    Build the wall
    Greatly expand CBP and ICE…for all points of entry
    Deport all Illegal Aliens
    End ‘catch and release’ and ‘chain migration’…possibly even ‘birthright citizenship’
    STRICTLY enforce e-verify
    Include the ‘citizen’ question on the census–not doing so skews Congressional representation
    Make legal immigration merit-based
    Prosecute those who aid/abet Illegal Aliens, including politicians
    Slash foreign aid to those countries who do very little to curb their citizens illegally entering our country

  4. Where are the interest free loans and free meals for private sector employees?

    You know those people who pay the taxes that pay for every cent of all government employees’ salaries, benefits and pensions (there are no pensions for private sector employees anymore – by the way).

  5. Many of the government workers have been getting paid a 40 hour a week salary to do 10 hours of work… 10 government employees do the work of 2. No sympathy here… the country did not crumble. I say shit the government down more often

  6. Meanwhile, illegals continue to pour across the border and overstay visas to join their estimated 11 million brethren who are protected and provided taxpayer-funded benefits in sanctuary cities. Notwithstanding the national security threat, illegal immigration is contributing to the unsustainable debt this country is racking up.

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