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McCarthy Signals That He’d Support Border Barrier Other than Wall

House Minority Leader tells Fox News ‘security over semantics’

By Sean Brown, February 6, 2019 10:30 am

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy. (McCarthy/Flickr)

Border wall, border fence, or border barrier? Border security is certainly the most prominent issue currently facing the Republican Party but how to define it may be an even larger problem.

While the government shutdown plagued Congress for over a month, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Tulare) said last week that starting this week, his goal in border security negotiations will involve reaching an agreement on a new border barrier. Furthermore, McCarthy said he doesn’t care what anyone calls it, echoing past statements made by President Trump.

“I’m looking for safety and security over semantics,” McCarthy, said after he appeared on Fox News while discussing the non-distinction between a border wall or a border fence. “I don’t care what they call it, but it has to be a barrier,” he added.

McCarthy’s comments come just one day after Republicans and Democrats from the House and Senate met in a conference committee to start work on a border security deal. The committee was set up as part of an agreement last week after President Trump signed legislation to reopen the partially closed government for a 15-day period.

Border Wall suddenly becomes an issue of ‘morality’

President Trump is still hoping lawmakers can find a way to agree to his original proposal of $5.7 billion to fund construction of the border wall, but Democrats have proven impervious to his plan. Speaker Nancy Pelosi has called the border wall “immoral.” The president has been equally willing to cast the issue in terms of right or wrong, predictably taking the opposite view. In last night’s State of the Union speech, Trump said of the border wall:

This is a moral issue. The lawless state of our southern border is a threat to the safety, security and financial well-being of all America. We have a moral duty to create an immigration system that protects the lives and jobs of our citizens. This includes our obligation to the millions of immigrants living here today, who followed the rules and respected our laws. pointing out the ‘immorality’ a wall represents.

McCarthy also alluded to many other options having been considered. A potential deal could consist of border fencing construction in some areas, instead of a concrete or a steel slat wall throughout.

Still, lawmakers will first have to come to some kind of barrier agreement before they start quarreling over what to call it. McCarthy said Republicans will be pressuring Democrats to negotiate in good faith, something they said they would do once the government was reopened.

This time, McCarthy insists that “it’s really going to be on the Democrats.”

Sean Brown

Before becoming a writer for the California Globe, Sean served as a Legislative Director in the New York City Council and is an NYU alumnus.
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