WASHINGTON — Republican leaders gave up hope on Thursday of reopening the authorities earlier than the new yr, leaving the border wall deadlock to House Democrats as they assume the majority subsequent week — and presenting Representative Nancy Pelosi together with her first main problem as speaker.
House Democrats, who take management on Wednesday, are weighing three approaches to getting funds flowing, none of which would come with extra cash for President Trump’s proposed wall alongside the southwestern border. Whichever path they select, celebration leaders mentioned they’d vote promptly on Jan. three, hoping to mission the picture of Democrats as a steadying hand in Washington whilst Republicans attempt to blame Ms. Pelosi and her celebration for the shutdown and lax border management.
“We will vote swiftly to reopen government and show that Democrats will govern responsibly in stark contrast to this chaotic White House,” Ms. Pelosi mentioned in a assertion.
Ms. Pelosi is set to forestall the shutdown brinkmanship from interfering with the Democrats’ assumption of energy and her ceremony-soaked return to the speakership. But it appeared virtually sure that the cautious rollout of Democrats’ legislative agenda — together with a sweeping anticorruption and voting rights invoice — can be at the very least partly eclipsed by the funding disaster.
The shutdown has affected about a quarter of the authorities, left 800,000 federal employees furloughed or working with out pay, and on Thursday entered its sixth day.
Mr. Trump and his allies confirmed no indicators of letting up. Though the president mentioned on nationwide tv that he would proudly shut down the authorities to safe wall funding, Republicans are not embracing the mounting disaster.
“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,” Sarah Huckabee Sanders, the White House press secretary, wrote in a assertion Thursday afternoon. “The president does not want the government to remain shut down, but he will not sign a proposal that does not first prioritize our county’s safety and security.”
The planning for subsequent week’s Democratic takeover was virtually all that went on in a desolate Capitol on Thursday. The Senate reconvened for the first time since earlier than Christmas, however with negotiations between the White House and Senate Democrats going nowhere, the session lasted 4 minutes.
“We just have to get through this,” mentioned Senator Pat Roberts, Republican of Kansas, who presided over the session. He added, “They say a house divided against itself cannot stand. That’s about where we are.”
The House met simply as briefly, and Representative Steve Scalise of Louisiana, the majority whip, advised lawmakers to not anticipate votes for the remainder of the yr. When Democrats despatched Representative Jim McGovern of Massachusetts to the flooring to attempt to pressure consideration of a stopgap funding invoice that the Senate had already handed, Republicans wouldn’t acknowledge him.
Back from a temporary journey to go to troops abroad, Mr. Trump appeared to dig in on his demand that Congress approve $5 billion in extra funds as a down fee on the border wall. In a torrent of tweets and in the formal assertion from the White House, he accused Democrats of favoring permissive immigration legal guidelines and border safety, at one level suggesting that his wall might have prevented the killing of a police officer in California.
The gibes did little to move Democrats, whom Mr. Trump needs to advance any funding bill through the Senate. Democrats have offered Mr. Trump $1.3 billion for border security and not budged. Democratic leaders say they see little incentive to negotiate with Mr. Trump after he has repeatedly reversed himself when it comes to border funding or to allocate more than the $1.3 billion since the administration has only spent a small fraction of the money Congress approved last year for barriers along the border. Nor, for that matter, is it even clear that all Senate Republicans would sign off on the $5 billion figure that Mr. Trump would like without other sweeteners added to a deal.
Democrats have repeatedly said that they are more than willing to approve substantial funding increases for security at the southern border with Mexico. Many voted to do so in 2013 as part of a bipartisan, comprehensive immigration overhaul. But they view a wall like the one Mr. Trump advocates as an ineffective and inefficient response atop an immigration system in disrepair.
House Democratic leaders plan to pass a stopgap measure to fund the government into February, another stopgap measure that would fund it through September, or the bipartisan, yearlong spending bills for everything but the Department of Homeland Security. That department, which handles the border, would be funded by a separate stopgap measure that maintains current financing levels and policies.
A vote on any of the bills would probably take place next Thursday, after Ms. Pelosi is expected to be elected speaker and make her first speech to the House. Democrats still plan to make a wide-ranging anticorruption and voting rights bill their opening legislative priority. They will introduce the first bill of the Democratic House — which includes changes to campaign finance law, outlaws gerrymandering, and restores enforcement authority to the Voting Rights Act — on Wednesday, followed with a marquee unveiling ceremony on Friday on the steps of the Capitol.
“The American people voted for divided government and made the decision that they no longer want a House of Representative that functions as a wholly owned subsidiary of the Trump administration,” Representative Hakeem Jeffries of New York, the soon-to-be No. 5 House Democrat, said in an interview. “On Jan. 3, House Democrats will get the opportunity to show the American people that we can be the adults in the room.”
But Representative Mark Meadows, Republican of North Carolina and a close ally of Mr. Trump in the border fight, said Democrats would not be able to put the issue to rest quickly.
“The president’s made it very clear he will veto anything that doesn’t have border security funding attached to it,” he said. “So it may be a good messaging bill, but it won’t make for good legislation.”
Caught in the middle will be Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader. Mr. McConnell has all but removed himself from the conflict to this point. After the president torpedoed the Senate’s temporary spending deal to avert the shutdown, Mr. McConnell said a solution would be up to the White House and Democrats to negotiate. He adjourned the Senate last Saturday and said it would return for votes only if there was a deal that could win 60 votes and a presidential signature.
But Mr. McConnell could also choose to bring whatever House Democrats pass up for a vote, allowing it to publicly fail as a way to force Mr. Trump and Democrats to the negotiating table.
The stakes of the government closing, which have thus far been muted by the holidays, will grow in the days to come.
The Office of Personnel Management encouraged affected federal employees on Thursday to ask their landlords and other creditors if they would be able to pay just part of their bills for the duration of the shutdown. The office also advised employees to consult their “personal attorney” if they had further problems.
The Smithsonian, which has been operating on reserve funds, announced it would have to close all museums, research centers and the National Zoo in Washington, beginning on Jan. 2 until the stalemate is resolved.
Justice Department lawyers have asked for delays or extensions in a number of prominent cases in which they are defending administration policies or the president, citing the partial shutdown and the federal statutes they say prohibit most voluntary and paid work in the absence of funding. Immigration courts, already facing backlogs, were forced to reschedule some of their cases until after funding resumed.
(Because the funding for the office of the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, is not dependent on Congress’s action, the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 has ground on.)
And after complaints by Senator Marco Rubio, Republican of Florida, and other lawmakers, the Federal Emergency Management Agency said it would review the legal authorities that prohibit it from writing or renewing flood insurance policies during the shutdown.