House Democratic leader proposes $5.7 billion for border 'smart wall'

U.S. | 1/22/2019 | Richard Cowan
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The No. 3 Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives floated the idea of ending a partial government shutdown by giving President Donald Trump the $5.7 billion he seeks for border security with Mexico but through various means other than a wall.

U.S. House Majority Whip James Clyburn told reporters that Democrats could fulfill Trump’s request for border security with a “smart wall” that includes drones, X-rays, sensors and more border patrol agents.

Trump - Funding - Wall - Showdown - Democrats

But Trump has demanded funding for a wall in a showdown with Democrats that has left 800,000 federal workers without pay amid a partial government shutdown that entered its 33rd day on Wednesday.

Representative Steny Hoyer, the second-ranking House Democrat, also said Democrats would be discussing “substantial sums of additional money” for border security as part of a possible deal.

Clyburn - Offer - Increase - Bills - Democrats

Clyburn’s offer is a significant monetary increase over bills previously passed by Democrats, which included only about $1.3 billion for this year in additional border security, with none of that for a wall.

“Using the figure the president put on the table, if his $5.7 billion is about border security then we see ourselves fulfilling that request, only doing it with what I like to call using a smart wall,” Clyburn said.

US - Senate - Votes - Thursday - Proposals

The U.S. Senate has scheduled votes for Thursday on competing proposals that face steep odds to end the shutdown.

Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell plans to hold a vote on Thursday on a Democratic proposal that would fund the government for three weeks but does not include the $5.7 billion in partial funding for a wall...
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