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Pelosi calls Trump's border wall 'a waste of money' and 'an immorality'

Posted: 5:18 PM, Jan 03, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-03 20:18:29-05

House Democrats vowed to press ahead on Thursday with plans to pass a legislative package that would reopen shuttered parts of the federal government without providing any new money for President Donald Trump's promised border wall -- despite a White House veto threat.

Newly elected House Speaker Nancy Pelosi criticized the President's wall as "a waste of money" and "an immorality" during a news conference hours after reclaiming the gavel in the new Congress and ahead of an expected House vote later Thursday on the legislative package.

The partial government shutdown stretched into its 13th day on Thursday, when the new Democratic House majority was sworn in.

House Democrats plan to vote on a legislative package made up of six full-year spending bills to reopen the closed parts of the federal government as well as a stopgap funding bill for the Department of Homeland Security that would maintain existing funding levels through February 8, effectively delaying a fight over the border wall until that time.

The key sticking point in the shutdown fight is the President's demand for $5 billion in wall funding, which congressional Democrats have refused to meet.

House Democrats have stressed that the measures they plan to vote on would not provide any additional funding for a border wall, leading congressional Republicans and the White House to call the effort a "nonstarter." On Thursday evening, the White House issued a veto threat against the legislation ahead of the expected House vote.

As the stalemate continues, there is no end in sight to the partial shutdown, which is affecting hundreds of thousands of federal workers who have either been furloughed or have had to work without pay.

"We're trying to open up government," Pelosi said on Thursday.

But she suggested that Democrats don't plan to budge from their refusal to allocate wall money.

"We're not doing a wall," Pelosi said emphatically. "Does anybody have any doubt? We are not doing a wall."