WASHINGTON -- A divided government returns to Washington, as new members are sworn in to the 116th Congress.
- 5 freshmen representatives from Florida
- Reopening government is a priority
- Republicans insistent on funding border wall
- RELATED: Congress Opens; Nancy Pelosi Sworn in as House Speaker
Democrats assumed control of the House of Representatives while Republicans increased their majority in the Senate. Meanwhile, the government shutdown stalemate enters the 13th day.
There's a wave of new faces from the Sunshine State — five in total in the House of Representatives:
- Debbie Mucarsel-Powell, D-26th District
- Donna Shalala, D-27th District
- Ross Spano, R-15th District
- Greg Steube, R-17th District
- Michael Waltz, R-6th District
They were all sworn in to the 116th Congress Thursday.
“It sort of is like the first day of school. I love the first day of school," said Shalala.
Some members like, Spano, admitted the Capitol isn't easy to navigate.
"I’ve gotten lost twice this morning already today," he said with a laugh.
One hundred new members took their places on Capitol Hill, including more women and minorities than ever before. Ending the partial government shutdown is at the top of their to-do list.
"I don't think anyone wants to swear in with a shutdown government," said Waltz.
Waltz says he's forgoing his salary, asking the House Administration office to withhold it as long as the government is shutdown.
"I don’t think members of Congress should be getting paid until they can reach a compromise to reopen the government," he explained.
“I'm looking forward to getting a deal done quickly. I think the people back home want us to do that," said Spano.
House Democrats are ramping up the pressure on President Trump to reopen key parts of the government. They say they’ll vote to fully fund the majority of the government with the exception of homeland security, to allow for 30 days of temporary funding to work out the wall issue.
“At this point, we’re all in favor of border security, so let’s sit down and figure out what the package is," Shalala said.
President Trump continues to push for $5 billion for his proposed wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. Any proposal without that figure is a non-starter for Republicans.
“I do not think we can get to effective, long-lasting legal immigration reform until we secure our borders," Waltz said.
While Waltz has yet to take a position on the funding bill being floated by the Democrats just yet, his colleague Rep. Spano refuses to support legislation that does not fund the president's border wall fully.
“The Dems promised to negotiate on this over the last year and they haven’t," he said.
The stalemate continues, as national landmarks close down and some federal workers go on without pay. However, some believe ultimately this new session of Congress will find a path forward.
“I think there is a different tone. I hope the president hears it as well because we want to get something done," Shalala said.
While it’s clear Florida’s new members of Congress want to end the shutdown, none of the new members appear ready to offer any concessions to get to a compromise.
Now President Trump is forced to face a divided government for the first time since taking office.