The House Democrats acted according to their plan to pass two appropriations bills to fund shutdown federal agencies — without the funding for a border wall President Trump had requested — leading to little hope that they’ll be supported by Senate Republicans or the White House.
The House voted 241 to 190 on a bill that would fund eight of the nine closed agencies until next September, while voting on another bill 239 to 192 that would fund the Department of Homeland Security until Feb. 8. New York Republican Reps. Elise Stefanik and John Katko voted alongside Democrats on both bills.
“We’re here late tonight, later than you would usually expect the Congress to be here on opening day,” said House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) at a press conference in the hours before the vote. “People, obviously, have things to do, they have family in town, but we are here because we sense the urgency of opening up the people’s government.”
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had tried to tout the bills as a bipartisan compromise, dubbing them “Senate Republican appropriations legislation” in her speech Thursday afternoon, as they had passed through a committee or the full Republican Senate last year.
Later Thursday, she criticized Trump’s wall proposal again, calling it an “immorality.”
“We’re not doing a wall,” Pelosi told reporters. “The fact is a wall is immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”
Three days into the new year, and hours into the new Congress, neither the president nor Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has shown any appetite for the Senate to take them up again, as they don’t satisfy Trump’s call for border wall funding.
Instead, the American President has again invited top lawmakers to the White House Friday to continue discussions over his border wall, the sticking point that has caused the partial shutdown of the government since Dec. 22.
On the floor Thursday night, Democrats blamed the president for the shutdown. Rep. Nita Lowey (D-N.Y.), the new chair of the House Appropriations Committee, called out Trump for making “ridiculous demands” as she outlined the Democratic plan to reopen the government.
Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) brought out with her the first-floor chart of the new session – a sign that pointed to Trump’s campaign promise that Mexico would finance the wall. “I will build a great, great wall on our southern border and I’ll have Mexico pay for that wall,” the cardboard sign read.
Thursday night Republicans attempted to send the DHS bill back to the House Appropriations Committee. They also tried to strip language out of the full-year funding bill that reversed some of the Trump administration efforts to expand the Mexico City Policy, which bars taxpayer dollars from going to non-governmental organizations that promote abortion.