House Democrats vote to reject President Trump’s demand for wall funding

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) listens while House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) addresses the House of Representatives during the opening session of the 116th Congress on Capitol Hill January 3, 2019 in Washington, DC. (Photo by Brendan Smialowski / AFP) (Photo credit should read BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP/Getty Images)

House Democrats voted on Thursday to reject President Donald Trump’s demand for additional funding for a border wall, approving a stopgap spending bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would not allocate any new wall funding.

The House passed the bill 239-192, with five Republicans joining Democrats.

The House is next expected to vote on a legislative package made up of six full-year spending bills to reopen shuttered parts of the federal government — despite a White House veto threat and the fact that the measures are expected to go nowhere in the Senate.

The key sticking point in the shutdown fight has been the President’s demand for $5 billion in wall funding, which congressional Democrats have refused to meet.

House Democrats have stressed that their plan to reopen the government would not provide any additional funding for a border wall, leading congressional Republicans and the White House to call the effort a “nonstarter.” On Thursday evening, the White House issued a veto threat against the legislation ahead of the expected House vote.

Earlier in the day, newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the President’s wall as “a waste of money” and “an immorality” during a news conference hours after reclaiming the gavel in the new Congress.

The partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day on Thursday, when the new Democratic House majority was sworn in.

As the stalemate continues, there is no end in sight to the partial shutdown, which is affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have either been furloughed or have had to work without pay.

“We’re trying to open up government,” Pelosi said on Thursday.

But she suggested that Democrats don’t plan to budge from their refusal to allocate wall money.

“We’re not doing a wall,” Pelosi said emphatically. “Does anybody have any doubt? We are not doing a wall.”

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