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US House Democrats challenge Trump on shutdown

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The Democratic-controlled US House of Representatives has voted to end a partial government shutdown, but the move looks certain to be vetoed by President Donald Trump.

Mr Trump has said he will reject any measure that does not provide funding for his proposed US-Mexico border wall.New House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will resume negotiations with Mr Trump on Friday, branded the wall immoral.

The new Congress is considered the most diverse in history.The bills passed by the House of Representatives would fund homeland security operations, including $1.3bn in border security, until 8 February, and fund several other agencies until September.

However, it requires Senate approval, and sign off from the president, in order to become law.Republicans currently have a majority in the Senate, and majority leader Mitch McConnell has said Republicans there would not back measures that Mr Trump did not support.

Mr McConnell called the Democrats’ move a “total nonstarter” and a “political sideshow”.However, Democrats argue that the bills are nearly identical to ones passed by the Senate last month, before Mr Trump insisted wall funding must be included.

Nancy Pelosi, a Democrat from California, was elected as Speaker of the House for a second time – becoming the third most powerful politician in the US.She previously led the House from 2007-11 – and remains the only female to hold the position.

She invited the children and grandchildren of House Representatives to join her as she was sworn in, saying: “I’m particularly proud to be a woman Speaker of the House of this Congress, which marks the 100th year of women having the right to vote.”

Later, she told reporters: “We’re not doing a wall… a wall is an immorality between countries. It’s an old way of thinking. It isn’t cost effective.”She added that spending money on “more infrastructure at the ports of entry” and better technology would be more efficient.
What is new about this Congress?
As of Thursday, 102 women serve in the 435-seat House, an all-time high, including 36 newly elected members and a record 43 women of colour.

While Republican women marked some firsts this past election season, like Marsha Blackburn becoming the first female Tennessee senator, the vast majority of these new lawmakers are Democrats.

They include:

The first Muslim congresswomen – Michigan’s Rashida Tlaib, who took her oath on the Koran, and Minnesota’s Ilhan Omar, who became the
first person to wear a hijab in Congress.

.The first Native American congresswomen –
.New Mexico’s Debra Haaland and Kansas’ Sharice Davids
.New York’s Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, 29, the youngest woman to be elected to Congress

Carol Miller of West Virginia is the only new female Republican representative, bringing the total number of conservative women in the House to 13 – a decrease from 23 before the mid-term elections.

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