After weeks of refusing to negotiate, House Democrats said they were working on a border security counteroffer that could match President Trump’s $5.7 billion request for money.  However, House Democrats said the counteroffer will not include the 230 miles of new fencing that President Trump wants.  Trump continues to insist on funding for a wall he wants to build on the U.S.-Mexico border.

House Democratic leaders said the plan they are working on will include more money for security and drug interdiction at border ports of entry and more immigration judges to process cases of people clamming asylum.  “It’s technology, it’s manpower, its fortifying the ports of entry along with the judges,” said Rep. Bennie G. Thompson (D-MS), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee.

The counteroffer is the first step toward a deal for House Democrats, whose official stance remains that they will not talk until the government is reopened.  House Democrats have left Washington for the weekend.

Meanwhile, the U.S. Senate, after rejecting two shutdown-ending bills, is searching for a way to end a government shutdown, which is entering its 35th day and threatening the economy.  Meanwhile, Federal workers missed a second paycheck today.  The Senate was scheduled to work today, but it was not clear whether it might take any action on ending the government shutdown.

On Thursday, a bill backed by President Trump to end the shutdown by including $5.7 billion he wants for the wall and a separate bill supported by Democrats to reopen closed federal agencies without such funding did not get the votes required to advance in the 100-member Senate.  A bipartisan group of Senate lawmakers said they were introducing an amendment in the Senate to temporarily reopen roughly one-quarter of the federal government affected by the shutdown.

President Trump said yesterday that, if Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer reached an agreement to end the shutdown, he would support it.  However, the president also said that a deal was “not going to work” unless it included a wall or a barrier.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said a temporary measure to reopen the government must have “a large down payment on the wall.”  A spokesman for Chuck Schumer said on Thursday that Senate Democrats “have made clear to Leader McConnell and Republicans that they will not support funding for the wall, pro-rated or otherwise.”

Democratic House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters the possibility of legislation that includes a large down payment on a wall “is not a reasonable agreement.”

It was reported yesterday that the White House was preparing an emergency declaration that the president could issue to circumvent Congress if lawmakers do not fund the wall.  An emergency declaration would almost certainly be swiftly challenged on constitutional grounds by Democrats.