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Top Dem: We would support $5.7B for a 'smart wall'

 

House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-S.C.) on Wednesday said Democrats would be willing to provide $5.7 billion in border security funding to end the shutdown if the money is used for measures like a "smart wall."

"Using the figure that the president has put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing what I like to call using a smart wall," Clyburn told reporters after a Democratic caucus meeting. "These are the types of things that we are going to be putting forward."

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Democrats have expressed support for border security funding that includes advanced scanning technology, increased infrastructure and more border patrol agents.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE, meanwhile, has demanded $5.7 billion for a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. The impasse with Democrats has resulted in the partial government shutdown that has now lasted for more than a month and left 800,000 federal workers without paychecks.

Democrats panned Trump's proposal over the weekend for Congress to provide $5.7 billion for a border wall in exchange for temporarily granting deportation protections for immigrants under Temporary Protected Status (TPS) and the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program for three years.

Rep. John YarmuthJohn Allen YarmuthThe GOP's debt boogieman is hurting families and derailing our recovery Pelosi, Democrats unveil bills to rein in alleged White House abuses of power GOP, White House struggle to unite behind COVID-19 relief MORE (D-Ky.), the chairman of the House budget committee, indicated that Democrats were open to building barriers and potentially even walls in some places provided there was evidence to show it would increase security.

“If we open the government, we’re open to any kind of negotiation,” he said, answering in the affirmative when asked if that included talks over building a wall.

Democrats, he said, are working on a letter to the White House laying out the border issues they are willing to discuss.

“I think what the letter is designed to do is to establish a framework for what we’d like to negotiate,” he said.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate approves two energy regulators, completing panel On The Money: Biden announces key members of economic team | GOP open to Yellen as Treasury secretary, opposed to budget pick | GAO: Labor Department 'improperly presented' jobless data Senate GOP open to confirming Yellen to be Biden's Treasury secretary MORE (R-Ky.) has scheduled votes on Thursday on competing bills that would fully reopen the government. Neither measure appears to have the necessary support to pass.

The first vote will be on Trump's proposal to reopen the government with $5.7 billion for the border wall and temporary legal protections for TPS and DACA recipients. If that fails, the Senate would then consider a stopgap measure to fund the government through Feb. 8.

Niv Elis contributed to this report which was updated at 4:46 p.m.