WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump is scheduled to make an announcement from the White House Friday as Senate leaders negotiated a possible pathway to reopen the federal government and flight delays at major airports intensified the pressure to end the longest government shutdown in U.S. history.
An official, speaking on the condition of anonymity, confirmed that the 1 p.m. EST announcement.
The president is considering endorsing a short-term bill to reopen the government, and is discussing it with aides before speaking, the official said.
Trump’s announcement – on the 35th day of the partial government shutdown – comes amid a flurry of behind-the-scenes negotiations by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., in an effort to strike a compromise that Trump would sign.
A potential breakthrough came late Thursday when Trump said he’d consider a “reasonable agreement” worked out by Senate leaders in exchange for a “down payment” on a wall along the U.S. Mexico border.
Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion for a border wall – one of his signature campaign promises – was at the center of the budget standoff that triggered the shutdown, which is nearing its sixth week.
The push to end the shutdown grew more urgent on Friday after the FAA halted flights coming into New York’s LaGuardia Airport because of staffing shortage and other delays reported at airports in Boston, Washington, Baltimore and Philadelphia.
Also Friday, some 800,000 federal employees who have been on unpaid leave or working without pay missed their second paycheck since the shutdown began.
At the White House, press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump has been briefed on the shutdown-related delays at airports. “We are in regular contact with officials at the Department of Transportation and the FAA,” she said.
Following the reports of flight delays, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., took to Twitter on Friday and urged Trump to end the shutdown.
“The #TrumpShutdown has already pushed hundreds of thousands of Americans to the breaking point,” she wrote. “Now it’s pushing our airspace to the breaking point too. .@realDonaldTrump, stop endangering the safety, security and well-being of our nation. Re-open government now!”
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