Democratic Party leaders have vowed to end the partial government shutdown when they assume their House majority on January 3, following the failure of post-Christmas negotiations.
The Senate and House briefly reconvened Thursday as the shutdown entered its sixth day, but nothing came of renewed negotiations over funding for President Donald Trump’s proposed border wall.
The new Congress will be seated on January 3 and Democratic leaders have vowed to solve the shutdown and usher in a new era of responsible government despite fraught relations with the Trump White House.
Current House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi—who is expected to become Majority Leader in the new Congress—said in a statement: “We will vote swiftly to reopen government and show that Democrats will govern responsibly in stark contrast to this chaotic White House.”
According to The New York Times, the Democrats are considering to end the shutdown while denying Trump additional money for his contentious and elusive wall along the southern U.S. border.
The president dismissed the opposition’s offer of $1.3 billion towards border security last week, demanding instead $5 billion in additional funds. On Thursday, Trump sent out a flurry of tweets accusing Democrats of obstruction over the dispute, suggesting their opposition was purely about “not letting Donald Trump & the Republicans have a win.”
The shutdown began on December 21 and has affected roughly a quarter of government services, leaving some 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working without pay.
The Times suggested Democrats will look to pass a stopgap measure to reinstate government funding until February or a more ambitious one to secure funds until September. A third option is a year-long bipartisan bill that would cover spending for all but the Department of Homeland Security, which handles border security and for which a separate agreement is needed.
In a heated televised press conference with Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier this month, Trump said he would be proud to own what Pelosi termed the “Trump shutdown,” but the White House has since sought to shift the blame to the Democrats.
In a statement issued Thursday, Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said: “The only rational conclusion is that the Democrat Party is openly choosing to keep our government closed to protect illegal immigrants rather than the American people. The president does not want the government to remain shut down, but he will not sign a proposal that does not first prioritize our country’s safety and security.”
But leading Democrats have dismissed such suggestions and hope to begin their legislative term by introducing bills to reform campaign finance laws, address gerrymandering and protect voting rights.
Hakeem Jeffries, a representative from New York who will soon be the fifth most senior House Democrat, told The Times that on January 3, “House Democrats will get the opportunity to show the American people that we can be the adults in the room.”