Democrat Nancy Pelosi has been elected to be the new speaker of the US House of Representatives as her party took majority control of the chamber following its election victory last November.
It marks Ms Pelosi's second stint as speaker.
She was the first woman ever to hold the job, serving from 2007 until 2011, when Republicans began an eight-year run in the House majority.
Democrats have wasted no time flexing their new power in the House, as they manoeuvered to pass legislation that would end a 13-day partial government shutdown while ignoring US President Donald Trump's demand for $5 billion for a border wall.
Today marks the first day of divided government in Washington since Mr Trump took office in January 2017, with Democrats taking control in the House from his fellow Republicans, who remain in charge of the Senate.
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The 2019-2020 Congress begins work with roughly a quarter of the federal government closed, affecting 800,000 employees, in a shutdown triggered by Mr Trump's demand last month for the money for a wall along the US-Mexico border as part of any legislation funding government agencies.
Congressional leaders from both parties held unproductive talks with Mr Trump at the White House yesterday and are to return for another round on Friday, a sign that the shutdown is likely to continue for the rest of the week.
Passage of the bill by the new Democratic House majority was expected to occur shortly after Ms Pelosi election as speaker.
The two-part Democratic package includes a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security at current levels through 8 February, providing $1.3bn for border fencing and $300 million for other border security items including technology and cameras.
The second part would fund the other federal agencies that are now unfunded including the Departments of Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, Commerce and Justice, through 30 September, the end of the current fiscal year.
Democrats said their approach would give both sides a month to negotiate a compromise on border security while reopening all other parts of the government.
Mr Trump made the wall a key campaign promise in 2016, saying that Mexico would pay for it and arguing that it is needed to combat illegal immigration and drug trafficking.
Democrats have called the wall immoral, ineffective and medieval.
"No, no. Nothing for the wall," Ms Pelosi said in an interview aired on Thursday on NBC's "Today" show.
"We're talking about border security. There is no amount of persuasion he (Trump) can do to say to us, 'We want you to do something that is not effective, that costs billions of dollars.' That sends the wrong message about who we are as a country."
Mr Trump has accused Democrats of playing politics.
"The Shutdown is only because of the 2020 Presidential Election," Mr Trump wrote on Twitter.
"The Democrats know they can't win based on all of the achievements of 'Trump,' so they are going all out on the desperately needed Wall and Border Security - and Presidential Harassment. For them, strictly politics!"
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday his chamber, still in Republican hands, would not vote on the Democratic legislation, calling it a "political sideshow" and "total non-starter."