WASHINGTON — Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle reacted with relief to President Donald Trump's announcement that a deal — one that does not include border wall funding — had been reached to end the 35-day partial government shutdown that began in December.
The Senate approved the deal by unanimous consent on Friday afternoon, with the House expected to take a similar vote Friday evening.
But many Democrats blasted the president, arguing that he ultimately caved in negotiations that left him without his priority but had allowed the shutdown to continue for more than a month.
“So Trump is agreeing to the EXACT SAME DEAL he rejected 35 days ago. What a debacle. I'm so so sorry, America,” tweeted Sen. Chris Murphy, D-Conn., on Friday.
“We could have passed this deal yesterday or on Dec. 22, and 800,000 workers could have gotten paid today. Instead Donald Trump waited until things got even worse,” tweeted Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass.
“How pathetic. On Dec. 19, the Senate unanimously passed essentially the same legislation that we will vote on today," Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., tweeted. "We are back to exactly where we started. Thank you, Mr. President, for shutting down the government and holding 800,000 federal employees hostage. All for nothing!”
Other Democrats insisted the coming conference committee slated to discuss border security funding would not deliver additional resources for the president's top priority.
“Individual 1 just folded on reckless #TrumpShutdown. We will reopen government shortly," the chairman of the House Democratic Caucus, Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, D-N.Y., tweeted Friday. "Not a dime for his medieval border wall. @HouseDemocrats will always fight hard #ForThePeople.”
"I've seen a lot of Presidents take a victory lap before," tweeted Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich. "But this is the first time I've seen a President go to the Rose Garden and take a defeat lap."
Democratic leaders, meanwhile, avoided blanket language on the upcoming negotiations or declarations of victory — though Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., did tell reporters that Democrats remain "firmly against the wall."
He added that he hoped the end of the process marked "a lesson learned for the White House and for many of our Republican colleagues."
"Shutting down the government over a policy difference is self-defeating.," Schumer said. "It accomplishes nothing but pain and suffering for the country and incurs an enormous political cost to the party shutting it down."
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., deflected questions about whether the president had underestimated her politically, saying only that she was “optimistic” about what will result from negotiations over the next three weeks.
Schumer, however, chimed in: “No one should underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned.”
Pelosi added that a unified Democratic caucus had been the key to ending the shutdown standoff.
“Our unity is our power, and that may be what the president underestimated,” Pelosi said.
Many Republicans expressed support for the deal, saying it would give Congress time to negotiate a long-term solution.
House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., told reporters that the negotiations over the next three weeks may produce a better outcome because it will be among rank-and-file lawmakers, and not leadership.
“The President put the American public first,” McCarthy said, “Let’s go pay the federal employees and let’s get into a meeting room because we have tried to meet with Speaker [Pelosi] and Schumer and they will not negotiate on anything. I think putting members in who legislate, I think, will have a better outcome.”
“It’s long past time to open our government again. We all knew both sides were going to have to give to end this nightmare and stop the madness as the consequences grew worse by the hour. Let’s hope we can put humpty-dumpty together again in the next couple weeks,” Rep. Fred Upton, R-Mich., tweeted.
“The president has stepped up to the plate by agreeing to reopen the government and laying a framework for what is needed to secure our nation’s borders," tweeted Rep. Don Bacon, R-Neb. "It is time for Speaker Pelosi and other Democrat leaders to negotiate in food faith a bi-partisan permanent solution that includes border security, along with funding for 234 miles of barriers along the border.”
House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows, R-N.C., an immigration hard-liner, appeared to express similar wait-and-see sentiments Friday — despite being adamant in December that Trump not sign a similar bill to avert a shutdown altogether.
“Democrats now have yet another opportunity to come to the table and negotiate, where all Americans will be able to judge for themselves whether they’re truly serious about securing our border. If negotiations don’t result in a solution, executive action is still very much under consideration,” Meadows said Friday.