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Hoyer says border walls Pelosi's suggestion that barrier is 'immorality'

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, D-Md., Acknowledged Wednesday on Fox News' "Special Report with Bret Baier" that border walls "obviously" work in some areas, and rejected suggestions that barriers should be removed where they already exist.

The No. 2 House Democrat additionally asserted that the question of whether to find President Trump's proposed border wall – at the center of the unprecedented partial federal government shutdown – is "not an issue of morality." Hoyer's comments were seemingly at odds with the positions of other House Democrats, who have argued that border walls like the one Trump is proposing are ineffective and immoral.

In an interview last week, for example, Democratic Texas Rep. Veronica Escobar told CNN that "we don't know what to do. Escobar also suggested she was "really ugly" and "monuments to division." CNN'S ACOSTA MOCKED FOR INADVERTENTLY PROVING BORDER WALLS WORK

And House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who has pledged not to find Trump's border wall under any circumstances, said earlier this month "a wall, in my view, is an immorality" and "the least effective way to protect the border and the most costly." 1

9659003] But Hoyer, pressed by Baier, distanced himself from those comments.

"Obviously, they work some places," Hoyer responded when asked if he favored removing border walls. "But the president wanted to first build a wall apparently 1,954 miles of – and changed that very substantially." He added: "A wall is – that protects people is not immoral. I think the issue is whether it is works. … And the debate ought to be on morality or racism, I will – I say that we are not pleased with some rhetoric that has come about dealing with those – coming across the border, and we think some of the rhetoric was in fact racist. We think that rhetoric was to inflame and was not based on facts. "

Democratic leaders have previously supported building border walls. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., And other Democrats, including then-Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, supported by the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which authorized the construction of some 700 miles of fencing at the border. As of 2015, virtually all of that fencing had been completed, according to government figures.

Border Patrol officials also have said that walls are effective. ("We need a wall. Talk to any border agent and they will tell you that," said Carla Provost Chief Carla Provost on Fox News "" Your World "last month.)


Hoyer suggested that Democrats were willing to compromise with the White House to end the shutdown, the longest in the nation's history.

"Well, we're prepared to do that, "Hoyer said, referring to reaching a deal with the Trump administration. "I think there can be a compromise position. There are all kinds of alternatives that we could pursue, I think, to come up with a consensus solution to achieve the objective I think we all want to achieve, and that is a secure and safe border for our country and for our citizens. "

Hoyer stressed that Democrats have supported" substantial restraints, including fencing and other technologies.

"Obviously, they work some places."

– House Majority Leader Stone Hoyer, D-Md

Congressional Democrats on Tuesday rejected Trump's invitation to a lunch meeting at the White House to discuss border security, a move Hoyer said that the time was unhelpful. ("My advice to members is that if the president invites you and want to talk, you ought to go down," Hoyer told Fox News on Tuesday.)

"Sorry, the focus has been on one issue and that's made it very, very difficult to discuss alternatives in ways of securing the border, "Hoyer told Baier. "We don't think the wall works – as you know, and awful lot of Republicans didn't – don't think the wall will work as well. … Having said that, we're prepared to work with the president to make sure our borders are secure. And that's the important point. "A Border Patrol agent rides a vehicle on the beach in San Diego, earlier this month, in a view through a border barrier from Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo / Gregory Bull) “/>

A Border Patrol Agent rides a vehicle on the beach in San Diego, earlier this month, in a view through a border barrier from Tijuana, Mexico. (AP Photo / Gregory Bull)

Trump on Wednesday signed a bill guaranteeing back pay for federal workers who have been furloughed or forced to work without pay during the shutdown, which started Dec. 22.

Federal employees – including Secret Service agents – received pay stubs with nothing but zeros on them last week. Some posted photos of their empty earnings statements on social media as a rallying cry to end the deadlock.

Responding to Pelosi's explosive suggestion that the upcoming Jan. 29 State of Union address by Trump to Congress should be delayed because Secret Service and Homeland Security agents are not receiving paychecks, Hoyer said no final decision has been made. All three branches of government traditionally gather in the capitol for the high-security event.

"No, I don't think it's officially off. We – I hadn't seen the speaker's letter," Hoyer said. "What she suggests is a real security problem unless we have opened up the government. So – we haven't gotten a reply from the president and his thoughts. So it's – it's not officially off. No." [19659003] CLICK TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP Security officials have pushed back on Pelosi's proposal, claiming the teams are prepared.

"It's unbecoming of a speaker to do this," House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., Said Wednesday.

Fox News' Bret Baier, Brooke Singman, Chad Pergram, and Samuel Chamberlain contributed to this report.

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