Deal Reached to Reopen Gov for 3 Wks

WASHINGTON (Dow Jones) -- President Trump and congressional leaders have reached a tentative deal to reopen the government for three weeks while negotiations over border security funding continue, according to congressional aides.

The White House said Trump would make remarks shortly about the shutdown.

The deal -- would amount to at least a temporary concession by Trump to Democrats -- wouldn't provide immediate funding for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, administration officials said. The deal would fund the government through Feb. 15 and start negotiations between the House and Senate over a full-year bill funding the Homeland Security Department, which oversees the border, aides said.

For weeks, Democrats have urged the president to reopen the government while negotiations continue. Republican senators have been talking with increasing urgency in recent days about passing a stopgap spending bill.

The stopgap spending bill would include an extension of border security funding at current levels, which includes $1.3 billion for border security but not expressly for a wall.

Current law permits the Department of Homeland Security to build new fencing and levee walls but bars the administration from building a solid concrete border wall. Republicans consider such barriers a wall, while Democrats say this constitutes border security. The White House didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The accord also comes as the effects of the partial government shutdown started to interfere with the nation's air travel. A shortage of air-traffic controllers, who are not paid during the shutdown, prompted the Federal Aviation Administration to delay flights at major U.S. airport Friday, including New York's LaGuardia Airport.

The Senate could vote on the measure later Friday, with lawmakers expected to be in town. House lawmakers aren't likely to be in Washington, but if Republicans agree, the chamber could pass it with a voice vote even if most lawmakers are gone.

The tentative agreement comes one day after rival proposals to end the shutdown failed in the Senate. After those bills failed -- one of which Trump had proposed last weekend -- Trump said he would be willing to support a short-term deal reopening government if it included a down payment for a border wall or barrier, and that he would accept a "reasonable" agreement between Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Schumer as long as it contained wall funding.

The two votes Thursday afternoon were the first the Senate had taken to reopen the government since the shutdown began on Dec. 22.

(CZ)