A border wall is an immorality, not who we are as a nation – Nancy Pelosi

 

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Democrats in the House of Representatives have passed a plan to re-open the US government–but without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.

On the first day Democrats had a majority in the House, new Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Mr Trump and Senate Republicans should “take yes for an answer” and approve the border bill, which was virtually identical to a plan the Senate adopted on a voice vote last month.

“We’re not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we’re not doing a wall?” Ms Pelosi said on Thursday night.

Senate Republicans are unlikely to approve any package that does not have the president’s backing – meaning the partial shutdown, now in its 14th day, is likely to continue.

The largely party-line votes came after Mr Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room pledging to keep up the fight for his signature campaign promise.

Mr Trump strode into the briefing room on Thursday and declared that “without a wall you cannot have border security”. He left without taking questions.

The appearance came hours after the new Congress convened, with Democrats taking majority control of the House and returning Ms Pelosi to the speakership after eight years of Republican control.

Mr Trump is demanding billions of dollars to build his wall along the US border with Mexico, which the Democrats have refused.

Asked if she would give Trump one dollar for a wall to reopen the government, Ms Pelosi said: “One dollar? Yeah, one dollar. The fact is a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”

Congressional leaders from both parties met with Mr Trump at the White House on Wednesday, but failed to make progress during their first sit-down in weeks.

The White House has invited the leaders back on Friday for another round of talks that officials have suggested might be more successful now that Ms Pelosi has been sworn in.

Reporters were told on Thursday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be holding a hastily called late afternoon briefing.