After 35 days, the longest U.S. government shutdown in American history, the executive and legislative branches of government agreed to a funding plan to reopen affected agencies and pay federal employees.
The stoppage began Dec. 22 when the president and Congress could not agree on a funding plan that included $5 billion to construct a permanent wall along portions of the border with Mexico.
On Friday, Democrats in the House of Representatives introduced a continuing resolution to fund the government and provide $5 billion for border security, but no money to build a permanent wall. Both the Senate and House approved the legislation Friday afternoon, but the continuing resolution lasts only until Feb. 15. Both branches must reach a more substantial agreement by then or the government may go through a second shutdown.
Both Rep. Jerry McNerney, D-Stockton, who represents a small part of Tracy and all of Mountain House, and Rep. Josh Harder, D-Turlock, who represents most of Tracy and the rural area, cautioned against reading too much into the accord.
“While I am pleased we have reached an agreement, I also recognize that this is a short-term solution to a bigger problem,” McNerney wrote in a news release, calling the shutdown a time of “chaos” that dedicated federal workers suffered through.
“Throughout this shutdown, the House passed numerous bills to restore funding, but our efforts were repeatedly rejected," McNerney continued. "For over a month, our national security, our economy and the livelihood of hundreds of thousands of federal workers were jeopardized and used as a bargaining chip. This is no way to govern. Negotiations in Washington should not come at the expense of American security and prosperity.”
In a tweet, Harder wrote: “This shutdown should have never happened, but glad that the Pres. & leaders in both Houses have agreed to compromise. Let’s put this sad episode behind us so both sides can work on a permanent solution to fund our government, secure our border, & fight for Central Valley families.”
Federal workers were supposed to be paid Friday. It is unclear how they will be paid for any time they went without paychecks.