Nancy Pelosi's comment about immoral border wall reveals tension in Democratic Party

Nancy Pelosi and Kirstjen Nielsen

Modal Trigger Nancy Pelosi and Kirstjen Nielsen MEGA AP

Asked whether she'd allow the speech to go forward January 29 if Trump insists on delivering it, Pelosi replied, "We'll cross that bridge when we come to it".

US President Donald Trump signed the Government Employee Fair Treatment Act on Wednesday to compensate federal employees who have not received any pay as a result of the current government shutdown.

The White House on Thursday had blocked Pelosi from using a military plane for a congressional trip with other high-ranking Democrats to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation headquarters in Brussels and then Afghanistan. They represent areas where Trump remains popular.

Those arriving Wednesday for the midday meeting in the Situation Room included five freshmen, several of whom did not back Pelosi as speaker.

Separately, Senator Lindsey Graham of SC and Senator Chris Coons of DE were organizing a bipartisan letter asking Trump to reconsider his rejection of the idea of reopening the government for three weeks to allow time for negotiations on border security.

That ultimatum, which congressional Democrats have rejected, has prevented Congress from approving legislation to restore funding to about a quarter of the federal government, which closed down partially on December 22 when several agencies' funds expired for reasons unrelated to the border.

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The White House claims the move is so negotiations between Republicans and Democrats can move forward and the shutdown can end.

There was no immediate reaction from the White House. Economic optimism had already cooled somewhat as Trump's trade fight with China shook the markets.

"I am sure you would agree that postponing this public relations event is appropriate".

Democrats say they'll discuss border security once the government reopens. "Graham et al. were told last week that a short term reopen for the Senate to work on a solution was DOA [dead on arrival]", adding that the White House said they "didn't need to reopen government for the legislative branch-which is fully funded-to work".

Many White House officials are also anxious that the shutdown could affect what they consider one of Trump's greatest political assets: the strong USA economy.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders told reporters that the economy remained strong.

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The shutdown is the longest ever, entering its 27th day Thursday.

The House and Senate announced Tuesday they would stay in session, canceling an upcoming recess week at home if the shutdown continued, which seemed likely.

Another message, this one from "Team Trump", urged supporters to sign a petition to "ensure Dems get the message and FUND THE WALL".

"We've got a very large federal workforce with a majority of employees who are not on Uncle Sam's direct payroll", New York University federal workforce expert Paul Light told NPR earlier this month.

Legislation recently passed by Congress to guarantee back pay to federal employees after the conclusion of the shutdown was signed into law today.

Representative Jim Jordan of the House Freedom Caucus, a group of conservative Republicans allied to Trump, said Pelosi's move showed Democrats were "more focussed on stopping the president than they are on serving the country". The session marked the second time in as many days the White House attempted to court moderate and deal-minded House Democrats.

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