CHARLESTON — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, who has supported the recent deal in Congress to avoid another partial government shutdown, believes President Donald Trump “does not have a leg to stand on” when declaring a national emergency because of the border.
Manchin, D-W.Va., appeared on Friday’s MetroNews ‘Talkline’ with Hoppy Kercheval to discuss the developments out of Washington D.C. this week.
“How can you go to the courts and declare an emergency when you got $1.4 billion for the security, building fencing, building a wall and $1.7 billion for basically technology,” Manchin questioned. “Now you declare an emergency when you can show that you’ve never spent more than that in any one year since he’s been President.”
The Senate passed the funding bill in an 83-16 vote with Manchin and U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito, R-W.Va., voting in favor. In a 300-128 vote, Representatives in the House approved the resolution. The deal includes $22 billion for border security including nearly $1.4 billion for a physical structure and $1.7 billion in funding for technology on the border such as sensors, drones, and more Border Patrol agents.
Trump had asked for $5.7 billion in December for a southern border wall. His rejection of the $1.6 billion for border security approved by the Senate Homeland Security Appropriations Subcommittee late last year led to a 35-day partial government shutdown.
Trump said on Friday that he will declare the emergency to get $8 billion for a border wall.
During the shutdown, Manchin had supported Trump’s power to declare a national emergency but only if he felt the nation had no path forward. Manchin said on ‘Talkline’ that this deal gives the nation a path forward and he does not support the declaration now.
“If it was opening up this government and that was the only way because we had a meltdown and the proverbial political wall, when nobody could budge and nothing was happening and all we did was make 800,000 go without a paycheck and millions of people go without services, I would say try it, Mr. President,” he said.
Manchin also added that he worries Trump’s declaration of a national emergency for border security could set a dangerous precedent in the future.
“It opens up Pandora’s box for on and on. I pray to goodness that some of my Republican colleagues will stand up and say, Mr. President, I am not supporting that, I think it is wrong.”
By Jake Flatley