TEHRAN, Young Journalists Club (YJC) - After a historic opening session of the 116th Congress in which Pelosi was elected as speaker for the second time in her storied career, lawmakers took aim at a bipartisan priority of ending an embarrassing partial government shutdown that was stretching into its 13th day.
The House passed two measures that would re-open government agencies whose funding had lapsed, but provide no money for a border wall demanded by Donald Trump.
They are all but dead on arrival in the Senate, where the Republican leadership has vowed not to bring them up for a vote because they do not pass muster with the president.
Trump has demanded that Congress approve $5.6 billion for construction of a wall on the southern US border with Mexico -- an oft repeated pledge from his 2016 presidential campaign.
The bills that passed the House contain no wall funding.
"We're not doing a wall," Pelosi told reporters shortly before the votes largely along party lines.
"A wall is an immorality between countries. It's an old way of thinking, it isn't cost effective," she said, arguing that money would be better spent on border security technology such as drones and cameras, and on hiring more border agents.
Republican leaders immediately blasted the vote as a pointless political gimmick that would do little to provide the resources necessary to secure the border, and said Democrats were not negotiating in good faith.
"The president made it clear, we're here to make a deal," Vice President Mike Pence told Fox News late Thursday. "We will have no deal without a wall."
Democratic congressional leaders said they will head to the White House Friday at 11:30 am (1430 GMT) in a bid to break the impasse, but lawmakers have warned the shutdown could extend for several more days, even weeks.
Democrats' new majority in the House of Representatives marked a dramatic power shift on Capitol Hill less than two years before the Republican president's re-election bid, as Democrats intend to put a check on Trump's turbulent White House.