House Majority Whip Clyburn: Don't Oppose New Wall "So Long As It Is Smartly Done"

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House Majority Whip James Clyburn told CNN Wednesday morning that he doesn't necessarily oppose building new sections of wall on the southern border "so long as it is smartly done, listening to the experts."

"I don't think we ought to put ourselves in the place of experts," Clyburn said. "If the experts say that under the circumstances that this particular port of entry, this needs to be reinforced with certain barriers, then I don't see us turning our backs on that."

A bipartisan conference committee has until February 15 to come to an agreement on a budget that the president will sign.





"Everybody I talked to seems to be very pleased with the progress that's being made," he said. "And they really think, that's both sides of the aisle, that they can get there, to a reasonable conclusion if we stay out of it. And not just us in the Congress, but if the President stays out of it as well."

JOHN BERMAN, CNN: The President in his speech last night when he was explaining what that wall would be saying, it would be see-through steel slats.

REP. JAMES CLYBURN: Yes.

BERMAN: You, more than most Democrats and certainly Democrats in leadership have seemed open to the possibility of funding for some new barrier under the right circumstances.

CLYBURN: Yes, so long as it's smartly done. Listening to the experts, I don't think we ought to put ourselves in the place of experts. I've said we ought to have a smart wall. I defined that as a wall using drones, to make it too high to get over, using x-ray equipment to make it too wide to get around and using scanners to go deep enough not to tunnel under it. Now that to me, would be a smart thing to do. Now there are some walls, they are ready, there's some barriers there already they that need to be repaired, reinforced. And sure, we ought to do that. And if the experts say that under the circumstances that this particular port of entry, this needs to be reinforced with certain barriers, then I don't see us turning our backs on that.

BERMAN: Do you know what this conference committee is going to come up with? Have you been given insight as to where they are in their negotiations?

CLYBURN: Well everybody I talked to seems to be very pleased with the progress that's being made. And they really think, that's both sides of the aisle, that they can get there, to a reasonable conclusion if we stay out of it. And not just us in the Congress, but if the President stays out of it as well.

BERMAN: Are you staying out of it?

CLYBURN: Yes.

BERMAN: Is the speaker staying out of it?

CLYBURN: I don't know what the speaker is doing but I hope she's staying out of it, I'm sure she is.

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