AP NEWS

The Latest: Government employees are asked to return to work

January 26, 2019 GMT
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President Donald Trump announces a deal to temporarily reopen the government, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)
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President Donald Trump announces a deal to temporarily reopen the government, in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, Jan. 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/ Evan Vucci)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the partial government shutdown (all times local):

9:40 p.m.

Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are being asked to return to work and “reopen offices in a prompt and orderly manner” following the end of a 35-day government shutdown.

The Office of Management and Budget sent a memo late Friday to the heads of shuttered departments and agencies after President Donald Trump signed a bill that temporarily reopens the federal government for three weeks.

The memo says the office appreciates “cooperation and efforts during this difficult period.”

Trump backed down from his demand that Congress provide more border wall money before federal agencies get back to work. But he warns that the government could shut down again “if we don’t get a fair deal from Congress.”

The agreement to open the government came as about 800,000 federal employees missed their second consecutive paycheck.

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9:25 p.m.

President Donald Trump has signed a bill that temporarily opens the federal government for three weeks, ending the longest shutdown in U.S. history at 35 days.

The White House says Trump signed the measure after the Senate and House each passed it Friday.

Trump backed down from his demand that Congress provide more border wall money before federal agencies get back to work. But he warns that the government could shut down again “if we don’t get a fair deal from Congress.”

He is also holding out the possibility of taking executive action.

The agreement to open the government came as about 800,000 federal employees missed their second consecutive paycheck.

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As part of the deal, a bipartisan committee of House and Senate lawmakers is being formed to review border security recommendations.

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7:55 p.m.

President Donald Trump is pushing back against criticism of his agreement to reopen the federal government without winning a promise of new funding for a border wall.

With even some conservatives casting the agreement as a retreat by the president, Trump is tweeting that it “was in no way a concession” on his part.

Trump says the deal will take care of millions of people who were getting badly hurt by the shutdown.

And he’s emphasizing that it was only done “with the understanding that in 21 days, if no deal is done, it’s off to the races!”

The shutdown was ending as Democratic leaders had insisted it must — reopen the government first, then talk border security.

As part of the deal, a bipartisan committee of lawmakers will consider additional border spending in the weeks ahead.

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7:50 p.m.

President Donald Trump will not be delivering his State of the Union Address next Tuesday, even though the federal government is expected to be reopened by then.

Trump had postponed the joint address to Congress amid the partial shutdown. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had suggested he do so and — after some high-profile back-and-forth between the two — the president ultimately agreed.

With Trump and congressional leaders reaching a deal Friday to reopen the government, the speech is expected to be rescheduled.

But it will not be next week as once planned, according to a person familiar with the planning but unauthorized to discuss it.

— By AP writer Laurie Kellman

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7 p.m.

The House has unanimously passed a measure to reopen shuttered government agencies for three weeks, sending the bill to President Donald Trump for his signature.

Trump is expected to sign the measure Friday, ending a five-week partial government shutdown sparked by his demands for billions of dollars to build a border wall with Mexico.

The Senate passed the measure by voice vote Friday hours after Trump agreed to a deal to reopen the government through Feb. 15 while lawmakers negotiate on border security and the wall.

The measure would recall to work more than 800,000 furloughed federal workers and provide them with back pay after two missed paychecks.

Trump says he will declare a national emergency to build the wall if no deal is reached with Congress by mid-February.

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5:30 p.m.

The Trump administration is promising to pay federal workers as soon as possible after the partial government shutdown ends. But a senior official says agencies are in charge of their own payroll issues and workers should check with their departments for details about when their paychecks will arrive.

Hundreds of thousands of federal workers have missed two paychecks since the shutdown began just before Christmas. Congress passed legislation requiring reimbursement for those employees who were furloughed and forced to work without pay.

President Donald Trump on Friday is expected to sign a bill funding the government for three weeks while negotiations continue on his demand for money to build a border wall.

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5:25 p.m.

The Senate has appointed its members of a conference committee that will negotiate a border security agreement between Congress and the White House over the next three weeks.

President Donald Trump agreed Friday to reopen the government until Feb. 15 while Congress works to come to a deal on border security. The government has been shut down since December as Trump has insisted on money for his border wall, but Democrats have objected.

Sitting on the committee are Republican Sens. Richard Shelby of Alabama, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, Roy Blunt of Missouri and John Hoeven of North Dakota and Democratic Vermont Sens. Patrick Leahy of Vermont, Dick Durbin of Illinois and Jon Tester of Montana. Shelby is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee.

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4:45 p.m.

The Senate has unanimously passed a hard-fought measure to reopen shuttered government agencies for three weeks, ending a five-week partial shutdown sparked by President Donald Trump’s demands for immediate money to build his long-sought border wall.

The measure passed the Senate by voice vote Friday hours after Trump relented. It now goes to the House, which is expected to quickly pass the measure and send it to the White House for Trump’s signature.

The measure would recall to work hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal workers and provide them with back pay after two missed paychecks.

Friday’s developments awarded Democrats with a victory settled mostly on their terms and set up talks on a government-wide spending bill that will serve as a vehicle for negotiations on border security and the wall.

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4:25 p.m.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said she will discuss a date for President Donald Trump’s State of the Union address once the government is open.

Trump’s annual address was originally scheduled for Jan. 29, but Pelosi canceled it amid an impasse over the shutdown. Trump on Friday agreed to a deal to reopen the government for three weeks, backing down from his demand that Congress pay for a border wall first.

Pelosi said she had agreed to talk to Trump about a “mutually agreeable date” once the government was open. She said she would “look forward to doing that and welcoming the president to the House of Representatives.”

Trump is expected to sign legislation to end the shutdown on Friday once it passes Congress.

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4:10 p.m.

Democratic congressional leaders say they hope President Donald Trump has learned a lesson that government shutdowns don’t work.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer also said Trump learned another important lesson after repeatedly clashing with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi during a 35-day partial government shutdown. Schumer says: “No one should ever underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned.”

Schumer and Pelosi say Democrats stayed united throughout the five-week shutdown and eventually persuaded Trump to reopen the government temporarily.

Trump agreed Friday to fund the government through Feb. 15 while negotiations continue on his demand for a border wall with Mexico.

Schumer says Trump agreed to end the shutdown because “he knew that it was a lost cause.”

Pelosi says Democrats’ “unity is our power. And that is what maybe the president underestimated.”

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4:05 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he will declare a national emergency to build his U.S.-Mexico border wall if there is no deal with Congress by mid-February.

Trump agreed Friday to end a partial government shutdown and reopen shuttered agencies for three weeks so both sides can continue negotiating over Trump’s demand for billions of dollars to build his long-promised wall.

Asked how confident he was of reaching a deal by the Feb. 15 deadline, Trump said, “If we can’t do that then ... obviously we’re going to do the emergency.”

Declaring a national emergency would allow Trump to bypass Congress and use existing money to start building the wall.

Trump previously floated the idea of declaring a national emergency. But he held off, saying he wanted to pursue a deal with Congress.

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3:40 p.m.

Economists believe the partial government shutdown will end up having only a minor impact on the overall economy as long as the government stays open.

Paul Ashworth, chief U.S. economist at Capital Economics, says the impact should end up being “barely significant” with economic growth coming at a moderate 2 percent.

Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, says he looks for first-quarter growth to be around 2.3 percent, down slightly from the 2.5 percent forecast if the shutdown had not happened.

But Zandi says if the government shuts down again after the current stop-gap funding ends Feb. 15, then that could be “very hard on the economy” because it would shatter business and consumer confidence.

President Donald Trump has agreed to fund the government for three weeks while negotiations continue on his demand for money to build a border wall with Mexico.

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3:10 p.m.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says the Senate will pass legislation on Friday that’s intended to reopen the government after a record-long 35 day shutdown.

McConnell says he knows “the pain that this episode has caused” across the country. The Kentucky Republican says federal workers who have gone without pay “deserve this resolution.”

President Donald Trump has agreed to a fund the government for three weeks, through Feb. 15. Negotiations continue on his demand for money to build a border wall with Mexico.

McConnell says he hopes there will be “good-faith negotiations” in the coming weeks to settle differences on border security.

Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer says Democrats oppose the billions of dollars Trump wants to build the wall, but do agree on other ways to secure the border. He says that “bodes well for coming to an eventual agreement.”

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2:50 p.m.

Congress is expected to quickly pass legislation that would temporarily reopen the government after President Donald Trump announced a deal to end the record 35-day partial federal shutdown.

The Senate is set to act first, with the House following later Friday. That’s according to lawmakers and aides on Capitol Hill.

Trump has agreed to a deal that will fund the government for three weeks, through Feb. 15, while negotiations continue on his demand for billions of dollars to build a long-promised border wall with Mexico.

The legislation set to be passed by Congress will include back pay for some 800,000 federal workers who’ve gone without their salaries during the shutdown. The shutdown has disrupted services and created hardship for many workers.

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2:45 p.m.

Even as President Donald Trump backs down and agrees to a short-term deal that reopens the government, he isn’t giving up on his push for a U.S.-Mexico border wall.

And on top of that, he’s threatening to shut down the government again or use his presidential powers to address the border issue if he doesn’t get what he’s calling a “fair deal.”

Trump says the border barrier he wants built isn’t “medieval’ and shouldn’t be “controversial” because it will keep drugs and criminals from crossing into the United States.

He’s calling it “smart” and “see-through” walls.

Trump has announced that the government — after a record 35-day partial shutdown — will temporarily reopen for a few weeks while he negotiates with Congress on his demand for billions of dollars to pay for a border wall.

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2:25 p.m.

President Donald 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.

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.

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1:15 p.m.

The FBI director says the partial government shutdown is “mind-boggling, it’s short-sighted, and it’s unfair.”

In a video message to employees posted on the FBI’s website, Director Christopher Wray says he’s “about as angry as I’ve been in a long, long time.”

He says 100 percent of FBI employees are feeling financial strains from the shutdown.

Most agents in the field are working without pay and other employees are furloughed. He says he knows he can count on FBI agents to help people however they can, but he recognizes they have bills to pay.

Wray says FBI leadership should not be getting involved in political fights. But he says senior FBI officials have been advocating for employees behind the scenes

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11:45 a.m.

Fewer than half the furloughed IRS employees recalled during the shutdown to handle tax returns and taxpayers’ questions and send out refunds, without pay, reported for work as of Tuesday, according to congressional and government aides.

About 30 percent of the 26,000 recalled workers have sought permission under their union contract to be absent from work, IRS officials told House committee staff in a briefing Thursday. The IRS employees’ union contract allows them to be absent from work if they experience hardship during a shutdown.

The official start of the tax filing season comes Monday. The Trump administration has promised that taxpayers owed refunds will be paid on time, and it reversed the policies of earlier presidents and made the money available to pay hundreds of hundreds of billions in refunds on time. The administration planned to eventually send about 46,000 furloughed IRS employees back to work. That’s nearly 60 percent of the IRS workforce.

Of the 26,000 employees recalled, about 12,000 have come to work, the IRS officials said. Around 5,000 have claimed the hardship exception under the union contract and another 9,000 couldn’t be reached by IRS managers.

—Associated Press writer Marcy Gordon

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10:45 a.m.

The Federal Aviation Administration is reporting delays in air travel because of a “slight increase in sick leave” at two East Coast air traffic control facilities.

FAA spokesman Gregory Martin says the FAA has augmented staffing, rerouted traffic and increased spacing between planes as needed.

The staffing problems were at air traffic centers in Jacksonville, Florida and a Washington D.C. center that controls high-altitude air traffic over seven states.

Martin says safety is being maintained during a period of “minimal impacts” on travel.

LaGuardia Airport in New York and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey are both experiencing delays in takeoffs.