West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin thinks Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer gave in far too easily when reaching a deal to end the federal government shutdown on Monday.
Senate Democrats originally forced the three-day shutdown by refusing to support a spending bill. They were upset that it did not address the roughly 700,000 illegal immigrants who came to the U.S. as children and were protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program.
Appearing Sunday on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Manchin indicated that he wanted the shutdown to end, though he doesn’t believe Schumer had “the stomach” to effectively fight for what he wanted.
When asked by host Chuck Todd if, had the shutdown continued, he still would have filed for re-election in 2018, Manchin responded, “I’d have been hollering a lot louder probably.”
“I don’t think Chuck had the stomach to go on,” he added. “He plays a part differently. I understand the dynamics of our caucuses much different.”
Manchin suggested that as a Democrat from West Virginia, his approach is different from the one taken by Schumer, a senator from New York who leads the entire Democrat caucus in the upper chamber.
“The Democrat caucus is … that’s a big tent,” he said. “And I just said I come from West Virginia. I’m representing my state. I’m not a Washington Democrat. I’m a West Virginia Democrat. That’s a little different.”
Schumer has been criticized for the deal he reached with Republicans to end the shutdown.
Lawmakers agreed to keep the government funded through Feb. 8, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell promised that Republicans in the upper chamber intend “to take up legislation … that would address DACA, border security and related issues, as well as disaster relief,” according to ABC News.
As noted by the Washington Examiner, Republicans are upset that Schumer forced the shutdown in the first place.
Many liberals, meanwhile, think the Democrat Party caved on DACA, as they doubt that McConnell will keep his promise to address the issue.
In the days following the end of the shutdown, there has been a lot of back and forth between Schumer and President Donald Trump, as both sides look to get their way on a long-term immigration deal.
Trump has port forth a proposal that would offer amnesty to DACA recipients, in return for border wall funding and limits on legal immigration.
But Schumer has rejected this plan, claiming that the president is simply using DACA recipients “as a tool to tear apart our legal immigration system and adopt the wish list that anti-immigration hardliners have advocated for for years.”
Though Trump and Schumer have both blamed each other for the deadlock, Manchin said Sunday that their “bantering” is nothing more than “New Yorkers talking to each other.”
“I don’t understand that language. But that’s how they talk. Now when Chuck and I talk we talk West Virginian to New York. That’s a little different,” he added.
Todd also asked whether Schumer backed down on the government shutdown because Manchin threatened not to run for re-election. Manchin denied that was true, though he did claim to have told Schumer that the Senate “sucks.”
“If it sucks, why are you running for re-election,” Todd asked.
“Because I think I can make it better. I think I can contribute to bringing people together. I’m not giving up on it. This is a small price to pay for the great country I’ve had the privilege of living in and being an American,” Manchin replied.
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