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President Donald Trump signs bill to end government shutdown

President Donald Trump speaks in the Rose Garden of the White House, Friday, Jan 25, 2019, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

PHOENIX — President Donald Trump has signed a bill that temporarily opens the federal government for three weeks, ending the longest shutdown in U.S. history at 35 days.

The White House says Trump signed the measure after the Senate and House each passed it Friday.

Trump backed down from his demand that Congress provide more border wall money before federal agencies get back to work. But he warns that the government could shut down again “if we don’t get a fair deal from Congress.”

“I am very proud to announce today that we have reached a deal to end the shutdown and reopen the federal government,” he said from the Rose Garden.

First the Senate, then the House swiftly and unanimously approved the deal, sending the legislation to Trump for his signature.

The announcement of the deal came on the 35th day of the partial government shutdown, which began on Dec. 22. It was the longest in government history.

The terms were not immediately known, but CNN reported that it did not include any new funding for Trump’s U.S.-Mexico border wall, which the president had sought more than $5 billion for.

Trump said a bipartisan committee of lawmakers would be formed to consider border spending before the new deadline.

“They are willing to put partisanship aside, I think, and put the security of the American people first,” Trump said. He asserted that “barrier or walls will be an important part of the solution.”

But Trump hinted that he was still considering taking unilateral action if efforts to come up with money for his wall fail.

“I have a very powerful alternative, but I didn’t want to use it at this time,” he said.

More than 800,000 federal workers went unpaid during the shutdown. The deal would include back pay for them, Trump added.

Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.) said the short-term deal to reopen the government is “the right way forward.”

Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.) said in a statement that “shutdowns are irresponsible and hurtful” and “should never happen.”

Overnight and into Friday, at least five Republican senators had been calling Trump, urging him to reopen the government and have the Senate consider his request for border wall funds through regular legislation, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to discuss the private talks publicly.

Trump and the Democrats in Congress remained at odds over his demand that any compromise include money for his coveted border wall.

Senators were talking with increased urgency after Thursday’s defeat of competing proposals from Trump and the Democrats.

A KTAR News/OH Predictive Insights poll published on Jan. 14 found that most Arizonans did not support Trump’s decision to shut down the government over the border wall funding.

Nearly 46 percent of those surveyed said they did not support Trump’s decision, while nearly 31 percent said they supported it. Almost a quarter said they had no opinion.

Trump had said he would postpone his State of the Union address — set for next Tuesday — until the partial government shutdown ends, but it was not clear if it would be held on the same date.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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