116th Congress Begins with No End to Shutdown in Sight
By RJ Hauman | January 4, 2019
The House and Senate convened the 116th Congress on Thursday, but ended the week no closer to an agreement on how to fund the federal agencies that have been closed since the partial shutdown began Dec. 22.
The House, now under Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s leadership, quickly moved to pass a package of six spending bills to reopen almost all of the federal agencies, as well as a continuing resolution (CR) that would fund the Department of Homeland Security through Feb. 8. The CR provided $1.3 billion for border security but no additional funds for President Trump’s border wall.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said he would not take up the lower chamber’s legislation, calling it “political theater.” Vice President Mike Pence also dismissed Pelosi’s actions, maintaining that any legislation that does not include border wall funding is a non-starter.
“The president’s made it clear, we’re here to make a deal, but it’s a deal that’s going to result in achieving real gains on border security,” he told Fox News. “And you have no border security without a wall. We will have no deal without a wall.”
That means both sides have their work cut out for them if they are to make any progress toward a compromise before they meet again at the White House.