Pelosi tells Republicans: 'Take back your party'

House Speaker Nancy PelosiNancy PelosiBottom line This week: Surveillance fight sets early test for House's proxy voting Women suffering steeper job losses in COVID-19 economy MORE (D-Calif.) during a speech at the Conference of Mayors on Wednesday night told Republicans in attendance to "take back your party."

"To the Republicans in the crowd, I say: take back your party, the Grand Old Party," Pelosi said at the annual gathering of U.S. mayors. "America needs a strong Republican Party, not a rubber stamp." 

Pelosi's comments came on the 33rd day of the ongoing partial government shutdown, which became the longest in U.S. history almost two weeks ago.


White House negotiators and Democratic leaders have been at an impasse over President TrumpDonald John TrumpMulvaney: 'We've overreacted a little bit' to coronavirus Former CBS News president: Most major cable news outlets 'unrelentingly liberal' in 'fear and loathing' of Trump An old man like me should be made more vulnerable to death by COVID-19 MORE's demand for $5.7 in border wall funding, which Democrats have refused to provide in any spending bill to reopen the government.  

"Congressional Democrats support smart, effective border security, but we do not support the president holding the health, safety and paychecks of the American people hostage again to a campaign applause line," Pelosi said during the speech. 

"There is serious and justified concern that this president would shut down the government any time he does not get his way legislatively," she continued. "That is why we must hold the line on this shutdown in government." 

The California Democrat on Wednesday escalated her battle with Trump by saying she would block him from delivering the annual State of the Union address from the House chamber. The speech was originally planned for Jan. 29.

Pelosi had previously said it was dangerous to hold the address while the government is partially shut down because security concerns. Her letter came hours after Trump on Wednesday issued his own letter saying he intended to go ahead with the State of the Union.

Trump, in response to Pelosi's letter, said he may do an “alternative” State of the Union, though he provided no further details about such an event.

Roughly one-quarter of the government has been shuttered since Dec. 22, leaving around 800,000 federal employees furloughed or forced to work without pay.

The Senate is scheduled on Thursday to consider two dueling plans to end the shutdown, neither of which is expected to pass.