WASHINGTON: Claiming victory, President Donald Trump has signed a short-term government funding bill ending a three-day shutdown as Democrats voted to reopen the government after a deal with ruling Republicans to hold a debate on the future of young undocumented immigrants.
The stop-gap funding, which expires on February 8, passed both the Senate and House by large margins last night after opposition Democrats received a commitment from Republicans toward securing the fate of hundreds of thousands of so-called "Dreamers" illegally brought to America as children.
The spending bill passed the Senate by 81-18 and the House of Representatives by 266-150.
The measure funds the government till February 8, before which the Democrats and Republicans need to agree to a long- term solution to the government funding and on issues related to illegal immigration.
Claiming victory in his standoff with Democrats, Trump signed the measure into law and government operations would return to normal today.
Thousands of federal employees who had been placed on temporary, unpaid leave since Saturday breathed a sigh of relief.
"I am pleased that Democrats in Congress have come to their senses and are now willing to fund our great military, border patrol, first responders, and insurance for vulnerable children, Trump said in a statement.
He said he will make a long-term deal on immigration only if it is good for the country and will work towards solving the problem, once the government is funded.
"As I have always said, once the government is funded, my administration will work toward solving the problem of very unfair illegal immigration. We will make a long-term deal on immigration if, and only if, it is good for our country, he said.
The White House said it is ready to negotiate with the Democrats even if there is differences between the two.
"We've been very clear about what we want to see in any legislation, and I don't think that there's a whole lot of daylight between where we are and where the Democrats are. We certainly want to negotiate and get to a place, and we're hopeful that we can do that over the next couple weeks, White House Press Secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters at her daily news conference.
Following Democrats vote in the Senate to end the government shutdown, Sanders said the Democrats realise the position that they had taken, frankly, was indefensible, and that they had to focus on first funding the military, protecting Border Patrol agents, funding vulnerable children through the CHIP program.
Sanders indicated that there is no changes in the position of the Trump Administration on this.
If people are unwilling to secure our borders, that they're unwilling to end chain migration, unwilling to end the visa lottery system, unwilling to fix all of the problems that we have in our immigration system, and aren't willing to negotiate and actually do things that fix that system, that we know to be problematic, then, yes, that would be a problem and certainly allow for future incidents to take place, she said.
There have been four government shutdowns since 1990. In the last one, in 2013, more than 800,000 government workers were put on temporary leave.