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The longest federal shutdown in US history has finally ended! At around midday on January 25, 2019, President Donald Trump and US Congressional leaders agreed to reopen the government, which has been partially shut since December 21, 2018, for three weeks until February 15, 2019. Lawmakers from both parties believe this will give them enough time to reach a compromise on President Trump’s $5.7 billion request to build a US – Mexico border wall, which has caused the lengthy shutdown.
The agreement came as the impasse stretched into its 35th day, two weeks longer than the previous federal government closure record of 21 days. The impetus for US lawmakers to get a short-term funding bill approved came after effects of the prolonged shutdown started to become increasingly apparent.
The most visible impact were the significant flight delays due to the increase in the unpaid air traffic controllers calling in sick. Their absence forced federal officials to restrict the number of flights in and out of busy airports such as New York, Newark, Philadelphia, and Washington DC., grounding thousands of travelers for hours. Sen. Tim Kaine, D-Va., said on Friday that the airport delays in particular "ratchets up pressure tremendously" to reopen the government, adding that the being forced to continue to ground flights could prove "very damaging to the American economy."
Also affected is the Internal Revenue Service. The agency reported that 14,000 unpaid employees in its tax processing and call centers did not show up for work this week, further straining the already stretched resources.
Whether the temporary funding measure takes into account the two paychecks the 800,000 government employees have missed due to the shutdown is unclear. But they will at least not have to worry about how to feed their families for three weeks, or, hopefully, ever again, if US lawmakers can agree on a long-term funding bill by February 15, 2019.
Resources: CNN.com, QZ.com, adn.com