House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn said Wednesday he thinks lawmakers are "very close to a deal" that will end the partial government shutdown because of bills underway to fund agencies not related to the border security fund dispute, but he flatly rejected the idea that there is a crisis at the border.
"I believe that if we continue with this and send these bills to the Senate, I think that in the not too distant future the Senate will act and the president will respond in a positive way," the South Carolina Democrat told CNN's "New Day."
Further, he said, there is "absolutely not" a crisis at the border, but a humanitarian challenge.
"Six apprehensions out of thousands of people do not make a crisis," said Clyburn.
Lawmakers plan to introduce a series of bills, beginning on Wednesday, that would individually fund the departments of Treasury, Agriculture, Interior, Transportation, and House and Human Services.
The president wants more than $5 billion that would go toward wall construction, but Democrats have offered $1.3 billion without specific money tagged for it.
Clyburn also said Wednesday that he, like other Democrats, could see spending money on a "smart wall, rather than a concrete edifice."
Such a wall, rather than be made of steel slabs, would instead use technology to shore up security where there is no physical wall, while reinforcing and repairing fencing and walls that have already been built.
"We cannot build a wall without eminent domain," said Clyburn. "That's not the way we ought to go."