President Trump signs bill that ends government shutdown without wall funding, caving to Democratic demands

President Trump finally caved to Democratic pressure Friday and signed a bill ending the longest government shutdown in U.S. history without securing taxpayer funding for his long-promised border wall — a major defeat that puts congressional negotiations back at square one.

With the federal stoppage in its 35th day, Trump announced from the White House Rose Garden earlier Friday that he would sign a wall-free temporary spending package that will release the 800,000 furloughed workers from their unpaid limbo — an option that Democrats have asked for ever since the government ran out of cash on Dec. 22.

At 9:23 p.m. the White House issued a terse statement that said Trump had signed the bill.

Democratic leaders crowed over the embarrassing concession by the President, a significant victory for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.).

“Hopefully now the President has learned his lesson,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “No one should ever underestimate the speaker, as Donald Trump has learned.”

A senior Democratic aide told the Daily News that the deal started with a meeting between Schumer and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in his office Thursday evening.

McConnell proposed a short-term funding bill with a down payment on the wall, but Schumer rejected that, suggesting Democrats would commit to the path that Trump announced — an agreement for the House and Senate to work out border security in a conference committee.

McConnell (R-Ky.) agreed to take that deal to the White House, and apparently convinced the President.

The path forward, which breezed through both chambers of Congress after Trump’s Rose Garden announcement, bankrolls the nine shuttered Cabinet departments and dozens of federal agencies through Feb. 15 on current spending levels.

The government-reopening plan buys lawmakers three weeks to negotiate full fiscal year funding without continuing to hold the paychecks of federal workers hostage.

But Trump explicitly threatened he will force the government to shut down again if Congress doesn’t include his demanded $5.7 billion in wall cash — a request Democrats have called a “nonstarter,” as they consider the very concept of a wall outdated and immoral.

The President enters the new negotiations with significantly less clout.

Recent polls show an overwhelming majority of Americans of all political stripes blame Trump and Republicans for the shutdown, and Democrats — emboldened with control of the House — are unlikely to budge.

“The American people do not like it when you throw a wrench into the lives of government workers over an unrelated political dispute,” Schumer said at a joint press conference with Pelosi.

If Dems refuse to give him barrier cash, Trump countered he will circumvent Congress and declare a national emergency to allocate taxpayer funds for the border project he used to promise Mexico would pay for.

“We really have no choice but to build a powerful wall or steel barrier,” the President said. “If we don’t get a fair deal from Congress, the government will either shut down on February 15th again, or I will use the powers afforded to me under the laws and the Constitution.”

Constitutional experts disagree with Trump’s expansive view of executive power and say a national emergency declaration would all but certainly be challenged and likely struck down in court, especially since the President is undermining his own sense of urgency by saying the declaration can be postponed.

Trump — who frequently brags about his deal-making chops — could have averted the shutdown altogether by signing a deal that was nearly identical to Friday’s and passed on bipartisan lines by the Senate before the government closed.

But, after at first saying he would approve that measure, Trump refused it after being ridiculed by right-wing TV pundits. The shutdown ensued, forcing federal workers to go without pay and hampering everything from FBI investigations to diplomatic programs, national parks, airport security and food stamps.

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