WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump announced Friday that he has come to an agreement with Democrats to reopen the government for three weeks. Several Maryland lawmakers quickly responded that they hoped to find a path to avoiding another shutdown.
Minutes after the White House Rose Garden announcement, Sen. Chris Van Hollen, D-Maryland, stated that the shutdown would end through a Senate vote on a bill that he and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Maryland, proposed Tuesday night. The measure passed the Senate late Friday afternoon. The House was expected to follow suit on the bill and send it to the president for his signature.
“Last night, Senator Cardin and I introduced a bipartisan funding bill to reopen the government for 3 weeks, get federal workers paid and back to work, and move forward with negotiations,” Van Hollen tweeted. “President Trump now supports this idea. Let’s get this voted on today and get back to work.”
Also on Twitter, Cardin saluted federal employees for working through “tremendous hardship.”
“…We brought a large, bipartisan group of senators together who all agreed that too many critical functions of our (government) have been disrupted,” Cardin tweeted.
In a tweet comparing Trump to the self-deluding ruler in “The Emperor’s New Clothes,” Rep. Jamie Raskin, D-Montgomery, praised House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, saying she “has shown what real leadership looks like and that the Emperor has no clothes.”
Raskin also criticized Trump, who alluded to using unspecified powers or the possibility of another shutdown after three weeks if an agreement can’t be reached on border security. Raskin tweeted that this “demonstrates his continuing contempt for our Constitution & the separation of powers.”
Rep. Elijah Cummings, D-Baltimore, released a statement saying he was “pleased that the government will reopen” and was looking forward to creating a “long-term agreement that supports Americans’ priorities and protects our borders through smart security without abandoning the values of our nation.”
Trump said workers would soon return to work and receive their back pay “very quickly, or as soon as possible.” In his remarks, he neither gave specifics nor mentioned federal contractors.
Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-New York, said at a joint news conference that they hoped to craft a long-term agreement and avoid further conflict that led to the longest government shutdown in American history. Friday was the 35th day of the impasse that idled 800,000 federal workers and sent rippled effects through the economy.
Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Mitchellville, said the president “made thousands of people suffer for nothing,” but “Trump caved.”
Although House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Mechanicsville, said he was relieved about the temporary end to the shutdown and that workers would receive the pay they are owed, he was also frustrated with Trump and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Kentucky, for how long the shutdown lasted.
“It is deeply angering that he inflicted uncertainty & insecurity across the country for no reason for 35 days,” Hoyer said in a tweet.
Hoyer also emphasized that the Democratic Party is a proponent of border security.
“Democrats have always supported robust border security, and we will work to ensure that we pursue border security investments that are smart and strategic and in line with our nation’s values,” Hoyer said.
Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger, D-Timonium, shared a moment of excitement with his Twitter followers. Almost six hours after posting on Twitter that he would be hosting a Baltimore-based resource fair for furloughed federal employees, Ruppersberger canceled the Jan. 28 event following Trump’s announcement.
“EVENT CANCELLED!” he tweeted.
The sole Republican representative in Maryland, Andy Harris, D-Cockeysville, said he was “glad” the president reached an agreement.
“It’s up to the American people to now hold Democrats to their word to negotiate in good faith while the government is temporarily reopened,” he said.