by Jason Hopkins
West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin is bucking the Democratic Party, announcing that he will vote for legislation funding a border wall between the U.S. and Mexico.
“Today I will vote for both gov funding bills b/c I believe we must end this harmful shutdown immediately & it’s our first opportunity in the Senate to do so,” the Democrat tweeted Thursday. “Even though they will probably fail, these votes are a start to finding a way to reopen the gov & get WVians back to work.”
Today I will vote for both gov funding bills b/c I believe we must end this harmful shutdown immediately & it’s our first opportunity in the Senate to do so. Even though they will probably fail, these votes are a start to finding a way to reopen the gov & get WVians back to work
— Senator Joe Manchin (@Sen_JoeManchin) January 24, 2019
The Senate will vote on two sharply different funding bills Thursday. First, lawmakers will vote on a GOP-backed bill that includes $5.7 billion the president has requested to fund his border wall and protections for some migrants. Following that vote, lawmakers will then decide on a Democratic-led budget proposal that does not include funding for the wall.
Both bills are expected to fail.
Despite Republicans holding a 53-seat majority, Senate rules require at least 60 votes for budget bills, and Democrats have remained steadfast in their opposition to the border wall. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Minority Leader Chuck Schumer have agreed to allow both bills to receive a floor vote in hopes that it will be a step toward a compromise.
Manchin is not the only lawmaker who will vote in favor of both bills. Republican Sens. Cory Gardner of Colorado, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Susan Collins of Maine indicated they plan to vote for both bills, stressing the necessity to open the government and let federal employees finally receive a paycheck.
Thursday marked the 34th day since the federal government entered a partial government shutdown. While some lawmakers in both the Senate and House have floated compromises, both parties have remained deadlocked on funding for a U.S.-Mexico border wall. Democrats maintain they want to fund the government before border security negations can continue.
Trump on Saturday extended an olive branch to Democrats, offering Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) protections for “Dreamers” and extended legal status for Temporary Protected Status (TPS) holders in exchange for a wall, but that offer was flatly rejected by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
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