The House of Representatives, now controlled by Democrats, votes to end the Trump shutdown of the Federal Government.
Soon after Nancy Pelosi was approved as Speaker, the House passed a continuing resolution to fund the Government, fully reopening nine departments and resuming payment to about 800,000 employees.
The Government shut on December 21 after Trump insisted on $5.7 billion for his Wall with Mexico in any resolution. He rejected a Senate resolution with an additional $1.3 billion for border security measures, but no dedicated money for the $25 billion Wall.
The House had approved a resolution with the $5.7 billion. However, on Thursday control switched to the Democrats, who gained more than 40 of the chamber’s 435 seat in November elections.
After her approval as Speaker, Pelosi said:
Our nation is at a historic moment. I pledge that this Congress will be transparent, bipartisan and unifying, that we will seek to reach across the aisle in this country, and across divisions across our nation.
In a series of late-night votes, the House passed the continuing resolution, albeit as most Republicans continued to oppose the measure.
Senate’s McConnell to Protect Trump Shutdown
But the resolution now faces the barrier of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who has pledged to prevent a vote on any bill which Trump will not sign. Despite signs of a breakaway by some Republican Senators, he held his ground on Thursday:
I’ve made it clear on several occasions, and let me say it again: The Senate will not take up any proposal that does not have a real chance of passing this chamber and getting a presidential signature. Let’s not waste the time. Let’s not get off on the wrong foot, with House Democrats using their new platform to produce political statements rather than serious solutions.
Earlier in the week, Trump tweeted to Pelosi, “Let’s make a deal?” but he renewed his hard if vague line on Wednesday, insisting on an unspecified amount of money for the Wall in a meeting with Republican and Democrat legislators.
After Pelosi was confirmed as Speaker, Trump tried to refocus attention on himself with a suddenly-announced, unusual visit to the White House Briefing Room.
Trump marvelled at the room, in which he has never appeared in his two years as President. He congratulated Pelosi but then reasserted, “Without a wall, you cannot have border security.”
Surrounded by selected Border Patrol members, he declared that bipartisan initiatives for border security such as infrared sensors and drones would not work because “nobody knows more than technology than I do”.
Trump walks away without taking questions as a reporter yells to him, “the point of the briefing room is to take questions!” pic.twitter.com/J6CcEINrim
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) January 3, 2019
Trump — who has not spent 94% of the additional funds already allocated by Congress for border security measures — later turned to Instagram, posting a photograph of his face and “The Wall Is Coming”, lifting the imagery and theme of the TV program Game of Thrones with the slogan “Winter Is Coming”.
Trump did not note that Game of Thrones’ own Wall was destroyed in its latest series.
Pelosi responded that she would give Trump $1 but no more: “We’re not doing a wall. Does anybody have any doubt that we’re not doing a wall? So that’s that.”