President Donald Trump on Friday signed the bill ending the longest government shutdown in US history. The US has been hit hard by the shutdown over the last 36 days with nearly 800,000 federal employees temporarily thrown out of work.
Trump wants to build a US-Mexico border wall for which he has been seeking a whopping USD 5.7 billion in funding for the physical barrier which according to him is a must to prevent the flow of illegal immigrants into the US. The Democrats, however, have asserted that such a move is a "waste" of taxpayers money.
The President had on Thursday said that he would only sign a bill if it included a "down payment" on a border barrier. "One of the ideas suggested is they open it, they pay sort of a pro-rated down payment for the wall, which I think people would agree that you need the wall," Trump had been quoted as telling reporters at the White House.
The Senate had on Thursday, in back-to-back votes, first blocked Trump's proposal to add USD 5.7 billion for his border wall to legislation to resume funding for the government, then turned back a Democratic measure that omitted the wall. Neither side was able to garner the 60 votes needed to advance its bill. A Republican-backed measure to fund Trump's border wall failed in a 50-47 vote.
Earlier reports suggested Trump had been pondering over declaring a national emergency by using his authority and direct the Defense Department to construct a border wall as Congress and the White House fight over a deal to end the government shutdown.
Thousands of government employees have scrambled to pay for meals and cover their bills. The shutdown has also affected various services from airports to FBI investigations and food safety inspections.