On their first day in the majority, Democrats in the House of Representatives have passed a plan to reopen the US government without funding President Donald Trump’s promised border wall.
The largely party-line votes came after Mr Trump made a surprise appearance at the White House briefing room pledging to keep up the fight for his signature campaign promise.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Mr Trump and Senate Republicans should “take yes for an answer” and approve the border bill, which was virtually identical to a plan the Senate adopted on a voice vote last month.
“We’re not doing a wall. Does anyone have any doubt that we’re not doing a wall?” Ms Pelosi told reporters at a news conference on Thursday night.
Ms Pelosi, who was elected speaker earlier on Thursday, also took a shot a Mr Trump, calling his proposal “a wall between reality and his constituents”.
Mr Trump strode into the White House briefing room on Thursday — the 13th day of the partial government shutdown — and declared that “without a wall you cannot have border security”.
He then left without taking questions from reporters.
The appearance came hours after the new Congress convened, with Democrats taking majority control of the House and returning Ms Pelosi to the speakership after eight years of Republican control.
The Democratic legislation to re-open the government without funding the wall is going nowhere in the Senate, where Republicans want Mr Trump’s endorsement before voting on a funding package.
Mr Trump is demanding billions of dollars to build his wall along the US border with Mexico, which the Democrats have refused.
Asked if she would give Trump one dollar for a wall to reopen the government, Ms Pelosi said: “One dollar? Yeah, one dollar. The fact is a wall is an immorality. It’s not who we are as a nation.”
Congressional leaders from both parties met with Mr Trump at the White House on Wednesday, but failed to make progress during their first sit-down in weeks.
The White House has invited the leaders back on Friday for another round of talks that officials have suggested might be more successful now that Ms Pelosi has been sworn in.
Reporters were told on Thursday that White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders would be holding a hastily called late afternoon briefing.
Instead, out walked Mr Trump, flanked by members of the unions that represent border patrol and immigration enforcement agents.
It was his first time delivering remarks at the briefing room podium.
“You can call it a barrier, you can call it whatever you want,” Mr Trump said.
“But essentially we need protection in our country. We’re going to make it good. The people of our country want it.”
Mr Trump said his meeting with the union officials had long been planned and just happened to come at “a very opportune time”.
He also claimed his refusal to budge was winning praise, telling reporters, “I have never had so much support as I have in the last week over my stance for border security.”
Polls show a majority of Americans oppose the border wall, although Republicans strongly support it.