On their first day in the majority, House Democrats on Thursday night passed a plan to re-open the government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.
The largely party-line votes came after Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room pledging to keep up the fight for his signature campaign promise.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump and Senate Republicans should ‘take yes for an answer’ and approve the border bill, which was virtually identical to a plan the Senate adopted on a voice vote last month.
‘We’re not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we’re not doing a wall?’ Pelosi told reporters at a news conference Thursday night.
Pelosi, who was elected speaker earlier Thursday, also took a shot a Trump, calling his proposal ‘a wall between reality and his constituents.’
The Democratic package to end the shutdown includes a bill to temporarily fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels – with $1.3 billion for border security, far less than Trump has said he wants – through February 8 as bipartisan talks would continue. It was approved, 239-192.
Democrats also approved a separate measure to fund the departments of Agriculture, Interior, Housing and Urban Development and others closed by the partial shutdown. The bill, which would provide money through the end of the fiscal year September 30, was approved, 241-190.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Trump and Senate Republicans should ‘take yes for an answer’ and approve the border bill
Trump strode into the White House briefing room Thursday – the 13th day of the partial government shutdown -and declared that ‘without a wall you cannot have border security’
The White House has rejected the Democratic package.
‘Why not fully fund the Department of Homeland Security? Why doesn’t the Pelosi bill do that?’ said White House counselor Kellyanne Conway.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer urged Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to put the House Democratic package on the Senate floor and send it to the president, saying it would show Trump ‘the sweet light of reason.’
McConnell has dismissed the idea as a ‘total nonstarter’ and a waste of time.
But some Republican senators appeared open to at least part of the Democrats’ proposal.
‘I’m not saying their whole plan is a valid plan, but I see no reason why the bills that are ready to go and on which we’ve achieved an agreement should be held hostage to this debate over border security,’ said Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine.
‘Congress needs to take further action on border security, but that work should be done when the government is fully open,’ added Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo.
Vice President Mike Pence, who was on the Hill Thursday to swear in new senators, took a hard line, telling Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson, ‘Bottom line, if there’s no wall, there’s no deal.’
Trump strode into the White House briefing room Thursday – the 13th day of the partial government shutdown -and declared that ‘without a wall you cannot have border security.’ He then left without taking questions from reporters.
PASSING OF THE GAVEL: Nancy Pelosi receives the speaker’s gavel from GOP leader Kevin McCarthy
Pelosi holds up the speaker’s gavel: the symbol of her return to power
Pelosi returned to power on Thursday and marked a new chapter in Trump’s tenure in Washington as he faces a Democratic Party on a collusion course with his administration
The appearance came hours after the new Congress convened, with Democrats taking majority control of the House and returning Pelosi to the speakership after eight years of GOP control.
The Democratic legislation to re-open the government without funding the wall is going nowhere in the Senate, where Republicans want Trump’s endorsement before voting on a funding package.
Trump is demanding billions of dollars to build his wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, which the Democrats have refused.
Asked if she would give Trump $1 for a wall to reopen the government, Pelosi said: ‘One dollar? Yeah, one dollar. The fact is a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.’
Congressional leaders from both parties met with Trump at the White House Wednesday, but failed to make progress during their first sit-down in weeks.
The White House has invited the leaders back Friday for another round of talks that officials have suggested might be more successful now that Pelosi has been sworn in.
Reporters were told Thursday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be holding a hastily called late afternoon briefing. Instead, out walked Trump, flanked by members of the unions that represent border patrol and immigration enforcement agents. It was his first time delivering remarks at the briefing room podium.
‘You can call it a barrier, you can call it whatever you want,’ Trump said. ‘But essentially we need protection in our country. We’re going to make it good. The people of our country want it.’
Trump said his meeting with the union officials had long been planned and just happened to come at ‘a very opportune time.’
He also claimed his refusal to budge was winning praise, telling reporters, ‘I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security.’
Polls show a majority of Americans oppose the border wall, although Republicans strongly support it.
But Trump started his seven-minute appearance in the White House press room with his congratulations to Pelosi.
Pelosi invited her grand kids and children of lawmakers to join her when she took the oath of office
Several children joined Pelosi for her oath of office
Pelosi accepts the gavel
‘I just want to start off by congratulating Nancy Pelosi on being elected speaker of the House. It’s a very, very great achievement, and hopefully we’re going to work together and we’re going to get lots of things done, like infrastructure and so much more. I know they want to do that very badly. So do I. So hopefully we’re going to have a lot of things that we can get done together, and I think it’s actually going to work out. I think it will be a little bit different than a lot of people are thinking. So I congratulate Nancy. Tremendous, tremendous achievement,’ he said.
Then he let immigration officers talk about the importance of a border wall.
Trump then posted a meme showing his face and the words ‘The Wall is Coming’. The font is the same used in HBO’s Game of Thrones and the words are a play on the quote ‘Winter is coming’ from the show.
White House and Department of Homeland Security officials have spent recent days trying to make a public and private case that the situation at the border has reached a ‘crisis’ situation that demands more money than Democrats have offered.
Trump tweeted an ominous video Thursday with images of what appeared to be migrants trying to rush the border and clashing with law enforcement, beneath the words ‘crisis at the border,’ ‘drugs’ and ‘crime’.
The video concludes with footage of Trump at the border along with audio from one of his rallies in which he vows to build his promised border wall and the crowd chants ‘Build the wall!’
Trump has said the partial shutdown, which began December 22, will last ‘as long as it takes’ to get the funding he wants.
Pelosi returned to power on Thursday and marked a new chapter in Trump’s tenure in Washington as he faces a Democratic Party on a collusion course with his administration.
Trump made a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room on Thursday afternoon to congratulate Pelosi
Trump then posted a meme showing his face and the words ‘The Wall is Coming’
Grinning broadly and holding up the speaker’s gavel, Pelosi leads a party with power to subpoena Trump officials, investigate him, and block his legislative agenda.
She did not mention Trump by name but she called for civility among the parties as they disagree and ask for the truth to be respected – a subtle dig at a president who is accused of name calling and lying about his record.
‘Let each of us pledge that when we disagree, we will respect each other and we will respect the truth,’ Pelosi said.
‘Transparency will be the order of the day,’ she added.
Pelosi invited her grandchildren and the children of any other lawmaker to join her at the dais when she took the oath of office.
About 50 kids ran the podium to join her as Republican Rep. Don Young, the dean of the House, administered the oath of office.
‘I now call the House to order on behalf on all of America’s children,’ Pelosi said after she was sworn in as speaker.
She then offered to let the children return to the parents before she administered the oath of office to the rest of the House.
‘No,’ she laughed when the parents rejected her offer.
Bella Pelosi holds her grandmother’s hand as Nancy Pelosi votes for herself as speaker
Pelosi with her grandson when she is declared speaker
Democrats rushed to give her congratulatory hugs
Pelosi watches as her Number Two Steny Hoyer keeps track of how many votes she receives as speaker
Pelosi poses for a selfie with fellow female lawmakers
She asked the lawmakers to stand and raise their hands. After she read the oath she told them: ‘Congratulations. You are all now members of the 116th Congress.’
Pelosi was officially elected Speaker of the House in a vote that saw the woman who became speaker in 2007 ascend to the job again.
‘I am particularly proud to be the woman Speaker of the House of this Congress, which marks 100 years of women winning the right to vote, as we serve with more than 100 women in the House of Representatives – the highest number in history,’ Pelosi said.
House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy handed her the gavel, marking the end of eight years of GOP power in the House.
‘The country knows Nancy Pelosi as an experienced politician with three decades of service in Congress. A fighter for her cause. And a trailblazer,’ he said. ‘Even when we disagree with one another completely – it is important to remember that we are bonded together in a common cause. Our love for America.’
Pelosi’s name is placed over the speaker’s office
Some kids grew sleepy during the three hours they were on the House floor for the speaker’s vote and oath of office
Pelosi celebrates after her win
After being formally elected, Pelosi strode down the House aisle in triumph to take the gavel from Republicans.
California Democrats serenaded her after her win, singing ‘California Here We Come.’
‘Having received a majority of the votes passed, Nancy Pelosi is elected speaker of the House,’ House clerk Karen Haas announced.
Democrats gave her a standing ovation, cheering and whopping on the House floor. A couple of Pelosi’s grandkids ran to hug her. Other lawmakers gave her hugs and kissed her cheek.
Democrats cheered her from the start of the session, which began with her nomination.
‘House Democrats are down with NDP,’ Democratic Rep. Hakeem Jeffries said of Nancy D’Alesandro Pelosi as he nominated her to the job. ‘Nancy Pelosi is just getting started.’
On her way: Nancy Pelosi walks to the front of the chamber of the House before taking part in a prayer as the new Congress prepares to vote on who should be Speaker – with her retaking of the gavel assured
Family affair: Nancy Pelosi was followed down the aisle by two of her grandchildren as she prepared to take her seat – with a thumbs up gesture to other members of the House
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer came by the House vote and gave Pelosi a hug
He said of the longtime lawmaker: ‘Nancy Pelosi is a woman of faith, a loving wife, a mother of 5, a grandmother of 9, a sophisticated strategist, a legendary legislator, a voice for the voiceless, a defender of the disenfranchised.’
The roll call vote began shortly after 1 p.m. with the Clerk of the House calling out each member in alphabetical order.
Pelosi sat on the edge of her seat at times, smiling broadly as Democrats called out her name. She would swivel her head around the room to watch as the votes racked up in her favor.
Her granddaughter Bella was on the floor with her and danced in her seat, waving her arms when Rep. Anna Eshoo voted for her grandmother.
Pelosi’s grandchildren then gathered around her when it was Pelosi’s turn to cast a vote for speaker. Pelosi appeared so engrossed with what was happening around her that she forgot to vote for herself. Her deputy, Steny Hoyer, nudged her to vote.
Bella grabbed her grandmother’s hand and bounced in the aisles, jumping up and down, as she shrieked ‘Pelosi.’
Freshman Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez voted for Pelosi, as she said she would, leading to groans from the Republican side of the aisle.
Democrats stood and cheered as Pelosi was nominated for speaker
Republicans sat during Pelosi’s nomination with several of them checking their phones
Back on top: Nancy Pelosi greets a child with her grandson directly behind her as she heads for her seat while the House gets ready to vote her in as Speaker
View from the top: Members of Congress get ready to start business with the Democrats in charge for the first time in the Trump presidency
Moment of truth: This is the moment power was about to become split in Washington D.C. with a Democratic house about to take control
Meet the new boss: Nancy Peloso greets Democratic members of Congress as they prepare to take power
Hugs for the Speaker: Nancy Pelosi gets a very affectionate greeting as she makes her way to the front of the House of Representatives to take her seat for a prayer
Guest of honor: Tony Bennett was in the Speaker’s box with his wife Susan to watch Nancy Pelosi getting ready to take back the gavel. He serenaded her at a dinner on Wednesday night at the Italian embassy in Washington D.C.
Nancy Pelosi will become the first person in more than 50 years to ascend to the speakership after losing it
‘I vote for the lady who will truly make America great again, Nancy Pelosi,’ said Democratic Rep. Steve Cohen.
Rep. Veronica Escobar announced her vote for ‘Nancy ‘No Wall’ Pelosi.’
There were a few dissensions in the Democratic ranks.
Rep. Anthony Brindisi voted for former Vice President Joe Biden in a protest vote.
Rep. Conor Lamb voted for Democratic Rep. Joe Kennedy. Kennedy was spotted laughing when his name was called for speaker.
Pelosi entered the House of Representatives on Thursday with a thumbs up and followed by her grandchildren as she prepared to become the first person in more than 50 years to ascend to the speakership after losing it.
Pelosi has been on a media blitz to celebrate her return to the speakership; she appeared on the Today Show on Thursday morning
Pelosi was joined by Hillary Clinton at the Italian Embassy on Wednesday
Recent speakers either quit – burned out as Republicans John Boehner and Paul Ryan were – or were forced out by infuriated members of their own party as Newt Gingrich was.
Pelosi, 78, made history in 2007 by becoming the first woman to lead the chamber. Now she returns to power as head of the Democratic Party and the second in line to the presidency after Mike Pence.
She will again face a Republican president down Pennsylvania Avenue.
But while she and George W. Bush had a cordial relationship, her tenure with President Donald Trump already has been marked by a shouting match in the Oval Office and a partial government shutdown.
Pelosi blows a kiss to Democrats as they nominate her for speaker
Pelosi hugs civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis in the House floor
Fashion consultant Tim Gunn sat in Nancy Pelosi’s box on Thursday as did singer Tony Bennett
Pelosi waves her thanks the Democrats after her formal nomination as speaker
Republicans nominated Kevin McCarthy (right) for speaker
Acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney (right) was on the House floor during the speaker’s vote
Pelosi takes power on day 13 of a partial government shutdown
Pelosi made history in 2007 when she became the first female speaker of the House
After she becomes speaker she will swear in the rest of the members of the House
Pelosi became a style icon with her orange coat and sunglasses
Her tenure begins with a tense relationship with President Trump after their Oval Office shouting match
Members of the freshman class of Congress in November
The chamber of the House was empty as lawmakers prepare to convene the 116th session of Congress
Pelosi has already moved into the speaker’s office and worked out of it this week