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US House passes funding plan without wall


The House passed legislation to end the partial government shutdown on Thursday, hours after Democrats took control of the chamber and elected Nancy Pelosi as Speaker.

The House measures appear to be dead on arrival in the Senate and have been rejected by President Trump, who is demanding that $5 billion in funding for his wall on the Mexican border. Democrats have rejected providing money for Trump’s wall.

But the measures could shift the debate as Democrats seek to raise pressure on the White House and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to end a standoff centered on the fight over the wall.

Trump has been dealing with a GOP House and Senate, but now must work with a divided Washington where Pelosi wields increased power.

The first bill passed by the House in a 239-192 vote was a continuing resolution funding the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8.

The House voted 241-190 to approve funds for six agencies through the end of the fiscal year.

By separating the two bills, Democrats hope to box-in Republicans by painting them as blocking legislation that would open the government. The shorter funding bill for DHS is intended to provide time for more talks on the wall, since border security is overseen by that agency.

McConnell has said that the Senate will not vote on legislation to reopen the government unless it will be signed by Trump.

The House Homeland Security stopgap would keep border security funding at $1.3 billion, providing no new funding for the barrier along the southern border.

Trump has invited congressional leaders back to the White House on Friday for another meeting to discuss the standoff.

With both sides digging in, it’s unclear whether negotiators are even getting close to a deal. McConnell on Wednesday suggested the shutdown could last for weeks.

House Republicans blasted Democrats for bringing the measure to the floor, arguing Democrats are not taking the negotiation process seriously and need to bring a “credible offer on the table.”

“I think this is really a show vote for the Democrats, it's not coming up in the Senate. It's actually kind of wasting time,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said Wednesday. “That's why I thought today could have been very productive, that we could come to a solution, actually brought something else that open the government back up.”

Democrats argue Trump is holding government funding hostage for the wall, which they feel is unnecessary and ineffective.

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md,) noted the funding package brought to the floor contained identical language to bills that passed out of the Senate Appropriations Committee with overwhelming bipartisan support.

“We hope that the Senate will pass bills it has already passed I know that Sen. McConnell said he won't put it on the floor, but if he puts it on the floor it will pass,” he told reporters Wednesday evening.

The Republican-controlled House passed an amended bill providing $5.7 billion in border security funding just ahead of their Christmas recess following pressure from conservatives, but it did not have the support to pass the Senate.

With House Republicans leverage largely diminished with Democrats now controlling the floor, some conservatives are projecting a lengthy shutdown.

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