Democrat Nancy Pelosi becomes House speaker in divided US Congress

At the time of the letter's release, the partial government shutdown resulting from the impasse was almost two weeks long.

"She ran and won by making this very clear to the voters in her district", the statement said.

The standoff also prompted economic jitters and anxiety among some in Trump's own party. "It is not who we are as a nation", she said, insisting her chamber won't approve any money. "I don't call it a shutdown". Meanwhile, the shutdown has closed some parks and leaving hundreds of thousands of federal employees without pay. She added: "We can go through the back and forth. No". It passed on a 239-192 vote, with five House Republicans backing it.

Despite the Democrats now controlling the House, Mr Trump said he thought Republicans could still work productively with their opponents. The congresswoman and John Bonifaz, a founder of the Impeach Donald Trump Now campaign, published an op-ed in the Detroit Free Press on Thursday, calling the president a "direct and serious threat to our country".

Trump continues to demand $5.6 billion in wall funding, and has rejected a back-channel compromise offered by Vice President Mike Pence for half the amount.

Trump confirmed that he privately told Democrats the shutdown could drag on for months or years, though he said he hoped it wouldn't last that long.

He dismissed suggestions that the impeachment talk distracts from the fight over the partial government shutdown, where Democrats are clashing with Trump over funding for a southern border wall. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has said those measures are non-starters on his side of the Capitol without the president's support.

Pelosi has introduced new measures that would fund the agencies, but she noted that they "contain no new wall funding", a move the White House - and leaders in the Republican-controlled Senate - dismissed as a non-starter.

"Not 'stirring the pot" Among the first tasks of the 116th Congress will be ending the shutdown, now in its 13th day and which has left one quarter of federal agencies shuttered due to lapsed funding. "But essentially, we need protection in our country".

"So this meeting was set up a long time ago", Trump said.

Republican Senators Susan Collins and Cory Gardner, both of whom will face hard reelection campaigns in 2020, broke from the party and have announced their hope for a vote on these bills, according to The Washington Post.

For a few hours, the promise of a new era was the order of the day.

"An all concrete Wall was NEVER ABANDONED, as has been reported by the media". "They have been an absolute necessity for Border Patrol agents in securing the border". "Makes sense to me!", he tweeted on December 31.

"This House will be for the people", Pelosi was to say in remarks after winning the gavel, according to excerpts released ahead of time, "to lower health costs and prescription drugs prices, and protect people with pre-existing conditions; to increase paychecks by rebuilding America with green and modern infrastructure - from sea to shining sea".

"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.

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.

  • Jon Douglas