U.S. House gavels into beginning of session

Trump digs in on Day 12 of shutdown, calling a border wall timeless, not antiquated -- like the wheel

In one big shift, the new Congress will convene Thursday with Democrats taking majority control of the House, and Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi said they'd quickly pass legislation to re-open the government - without funds for the border wall.

Democratic leaders said they pressed President Trump to accept their proposal to approve measures to fund through the end of the fiscal year those federal agencies that have run out of money and to provide a short-term funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would provide spending authority until early February. The shutdown, which began on December 22, came after Trump's refused to give up on his demand for $5bn in funding for a wall on the southern border, a request the Democrats vehemently oppose. Democrats rejected the demand and parts of the federal government have been shut since December 22 because of lack of funding as a result. But its prospects of passage are grim in the Senate, where Republicans hold a majority.

The partial US government shutdown is in its 13th day, with no end in sight after President Donald Trump and congressional leaders failed to reach agreement on how to reopen shuttered agencies.

The House formally picked veteran Democratic lawmaker Pelosi as its Speaker, elevating the liberal from San Francisco for her second stint in one of Washington's most powerful jobs. But he was acquitted in the Senate, as no Democrat voted to convict - a scenario, some observers say, that would be likely to repeat in a Republican Senate should Trump be impeached.

She says Democratic priorities include lowering health care costs, investing in green infrastructure and "restoring integrity" to government. The shutdown was triggered by Trump's demand last month for the money for a U.S.

But while the "blue wave" swept dozens of House Republicans out of Congress last November, Trump's party managed to modestly expand its majority in the Senate to 53-47, meaning Washington gridlock is nearly certain to deepen. "I think that is an open discussion in terms of the law", Pelosi said, on the eve of reclaiming her former title as speaker of the House.

Pelosi also promised that the 116th Congress will be "transparent, bipartisan and unifying" and that Democrats will "seek to reach across the aisle in this chamber and across the divisions in this great nation". "Let's get it done!"

The overwhelming number of Democrats who won seats in the House in the November elections marks a dramatic power shift and the end of Trump's one-party rule in Washington.

USA media reported that Mr Trump, when asked why he would not end the shutdown, had said: "I would look foolish if I did that". Hundreds of thousands of federal employees are working without pay. "I would look foolish if I did that", Trump reportedly said, according to The New York Times, saying he was elected because of his promise to build a border wall.

The partial shutdown has now lasted 13 days, affecting some 800,000 workers. They don't value the sanctity of our borders and that's really problematic, especially for a border state like Texas.

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