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Manchin to back Trump proposal to end shutdown

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases Bipartisan Senate group holding coronavirus relief talks amid stalemate Major unions back Fudge for Agriculture secretary MORE (D-W.Va.) said Thursday that he would support a White House–backed proposal to end the partial government shutdown in exchange for $5.7 billion for the U.S.-Mexico border wall.

Manchin, who is from a state where President TrumpDonald John TrumpGeraldo Rivera on Trump sowing election result doubts: 'Enough is enough now' Murkowski: Trump should concede White House race Scott Atlas resigns as coronavirus adviser to Trump MORE remains popular, is the first Democrat to say he will vote for the proposal first outlined by Trump over the weekend.

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The West Virginia senator said he would also vote for a continuing resolution that would reopen the roughly quarter of the government currently closed and fund it through Feb. 8. 

"I'm voting for both. I'm doing everything in my power to open up this government," Manchin said.

The centrist Democrat said while heading into a meeting with Senate Democratic Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerOvernight Health Care: Moderna to apply for emergency use authorization for COVID-19 vaccine candidate | Hospitals brace for COVID-19 surge | US more than doubles highest number of monthly COVID-19 cases The five biggest challenges facing President-elect Biden Collins urges voters to turn out in Georgia runoffs MORE (N.Y.) that he is ticked off over the lack of talks between Trump and Democratic leaders on how to end the government shutdown. 

“This is ridiculous,” Manchin said after hearing the House held its last votes of the Thursday, meaning no deal is likely to pass Congress in the next several days. 

The shutdown is currently in its 34th day. If the shutdown continues, federal workers will miss their second paycheck on Friday, Manchin noted.

“I don’t know what it is. I can’t even tell you how they can be so callous not to even understand it. You can’t do this. We got to sit here and work through this,” he added.  

Manchin said he would support the president declaring a national emergency to build a border wall or “whatever it takes to open the government.” 

He also said he planned to tell Senate colleagues later on Thursday to “how t’d off I am and people back home [are].”

“We have to have an adult in the room. We haven’t had many right now,” he added.  

In addition to $5.7 billion for the wall, the White House effort would also let Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals recipients and some temporary protected status holders apply for a three-year extensions, but include new restrictions on asylum seekers.

But the White House proposal is considered dead in the Senate, as well as the House. Republicans hold 53 seats, but they would need at least seven Democratic votes to get over a 60-vote filibuster threshold. 

Manchin said there "might be" additional Democrats who could vote for the White House proposal but acknowledged that he wasn't sure. 

No other Democrats have said they will vote for Trump's plan.

Manchin argued that House Democrats, who said Wednesday that they would be willing to provide as much as $5.7 billion for border security as long as none of it goes to building a wall, might need to give some ground on that sticking point. 

“We got to get together. You got the House saying now, ‘Oh 5.7 might be OK as long as you don’t do a wall,’ and you got the president saying, ‘I just want a wall.’ Somewhere in between someone’s got to meet,” he said.

Updated at 12:05 p.m.