Dem senator pitches wall funding in exchange for immigration vote

Stefani Reynolds

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) predicted on Monday night that President Trump could get a deal on funding for the U.S-Mexico border wall in exchange for a vote on comprehensive immigration reform. 

Manchin, during an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, said that if Republicans would agree to a quick vote on a 2013 immigration bill, which stalled at the time in the House, the president could “get what he needs.” 
“If the president would say this … we’re going to bring that 2013 immigration reform bill back up within … 30 days, it has to be voted on,” Manchin said. “If he would do that, he would get what he needs.”

Manchin added that Republicans should “give us a chance to vote that thing up or down.” 

{mosads}A growing number of senators are pitching a deal on immigration reform as they search for a way out of the partial shutdown, which is currently on its 17th day. Manchin raised the 2013 immigration bill during a closed-door Senate Democrats meeting last week. 
But adding immigration negotiations into the government funding talks could complicate the path to a shutdown deal after Trump has previously rejected previous immigration agreements amid blowback from his conservative base.
The shutdown fight is currently stalemated over funding for the U.S.-Mexico border wall. Trump is demanding more than $5 billion for the wall, though he’s signaled he’s willing to compromise about what material is used in construction.
Manchin on Monday night floated alternatives for Trump to get border funding if Congress couldn’t reach a deal.  
He said Congress should pass the six-bill package the House voted on that would fund most of the government that’s currently impacted by the partial shutdown, as well as pass a stopgap bill for the Department of Homeland Security in order to get more time to work out the border fight. 
If Congress can’t get a deal on border funding, he added, the president has additional options including declaring a national emergency or reshuffling money from the Defense Department. 
“We’d extend that for 30 days, work through our differences. If we couldn’t do that, then he can do whatever he wants to—call a national emergency. Do whatever you have to do Mr. President, you’re responsible,” Manchin added. 
Lawmakers have questioned the legality of the president declaring a national emergency as an avenue for border funding. Manchin added that Trump could also look at the Pentagon’s overseas contingency operations (OCO) funds as the administration draws down troops in Afghanistan and Syria.
“I’m just saying, we have the money in the military. The money is there in the military,” Manchin added. 
Tags Donald Trump Joe Manchin

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