House Democrats plan oversight hearings, introduce special counsel protection bill

by Garry Watts January 7, 2019, 0:05
House Democrats plan oversight hearings, introduce special counsel protection bill

CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins checks her phone before a surprise visit by President Donald Trump to the briefing room of the White House to talk about border security, January 3, 2019, in Washington.

Top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer urged McConnell to allow the Democratic legislation to come to a vote in the chamber and said there was no reason to keep parts of the government unrelated to the border security issue shut down because of the wall standoff.

During his free-wheeling session with reporters, Trump also wrongly claimed that he'd never called for the wall to be concrete.

Pelosi also administered the oath of office to members of the most diverse new Congress ever.

As speaker, Pelosi will face challenges from the party's robust wing of liberal newcomers, including 29-year-old New Yorker Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who has risen to such prominence she is already known around the Capitol - and on her prolific social media accounts - by the nickname "AOC". "We have skin in the game".

Trump remains dug in on his refusal to sign any funding bill that does not include $5 billion for a wall on the U.S. -Mexico border. Democrats don't want to give in to Trump on that, particularly after his negotiating style has been to just demand that Democrats give him what he wants.

"And this is not a wall between Mexico and the United States that the President is creating here".

Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-MI) didn't even wait until she was seated as a congresswoman to go after the president's job, publishing an op-ed on Thursday entitled "Now is the time to begin impeachment proceedings against President Trump".

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Now over 800,000 federal employees are furloughed or working without pay due to the shutdown. A funding lapse of that length would have compounding consequences for the government's ability to provide promised services, and for the approximately 800,000 federal workers who are either furloughed at home or working without any guarantee of getting paid. After saying he remained "ready and willing to work with Democrats" late Wednesday, Trump lashed out Thursday.

The president strode into the White House briefing room on Thursday and declared that "without a wall you can not have border security".

"Our first order of business will be to end the reckless Trump shutdown and reopen the government", Rep. Hakeem Jeffries of NY, the incoming caucus chairman, said in an interview. The White House has invited the leaders back Friday for another round of talks that officials have suggested might be more successful now that Pelosi has been sworn in.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has also pledged to block the measures from a vote in the upper chamber.

Trump in an interaction with reporters at the White House congratulated Pelosi on becoming Speaker.

After recapturing the speaker's gavel, Pelosi vowed to pass six appropriations bills in the House to fund most of the government and a continuing resolution to fund the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) until February 8. Trump is demanding funding for a wall on the Mexican border.

The Republicans had passed an initial funding bill including $5bn (£4bn) for the wall, when they still had a majority in the House, but they could not get the necessary 60 votes in the 100-seat Senate. The broader bill passed 241-190, with seven GOP members voting for it. They filed legislation to go after the president's tax returns and vowed to reopen a Russian Federation probe House Republicans closed previous year.

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