Editorial: Shutdown paused; now negotiate
President Donald Trump relented to heightening pressure Friday and decided to end the shutdown for now, even though he still doesn’t have funding for a border wall. No doubt, his opponents are viewing this as a win. Now the hard work begins, however, and Democrats must follow through on promises to negotiate a deal.
In addition to outcry from the public, Trump faced urging from Republican senators to reopen the government and allow Congress to address the president’s request for border funding through legislation.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi can’t see this as a victory, nor should it empower her to dodge discussions with the president.
If she and other Democrats try to avoid any talk of compromise, the government faces another stalemate in the coming weeks. And that’s unacceptable.
The shutdown’s damage to the economy was already evident, with predictions of “zero growth” from a top Trump economic adviser if the shutdown continued through the first quarter.
Airports were also coming to a halt, with growing shortages of TSA and other airport security officials.
Not to the mention the 800,000 federal workers who have gone more than a month without pay. They faced missing a second payday Friday, even though about 400,000 “essential” workers had still been required to report to their jobs.
Through the immediate deal to reopen the government, the workers will now receive back pay, which should come as a much-needed relief.
Trump and members of Congress now have three weeks to iron out a long-term deal that would avert yet another shutdown.
Trump has signaled this week that he’s open to discussing alternatives to border funding, so he’ll need to follow through with those overtures of compromise. But so will Pelosi.
The government will stay open through Feb. 15, but that date is going to approach quickly, and both sides need to get to work. Trump said a bipartisan committee is forming to discuss border spending, and hopefully that will lead to tangible options.
“They are willing to put partisanship aside, I think, and put the security of the American people first,” Trump said.
Trump and Pelosi have proven their stubbornness in what became the longest shutdown in U.S. history. It wasn’t a good look on either of them, and it proved harmful to our economy and citizens.
Americans should demand better from their elected leaders. Let’s not put ourselves in this position again.