In Break From Leadership, Several Democrats Back Border Wall

January 25, 2019 Updated: January 25, 2019

Several Senate Democrats are bucking leadership to support President Donald Trump’s proposal for a wall on the southern border.

West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin told The Daily Caller on Jan. 24 that Senate Democrats agree on the need for a border wall and that House Republicans are the holdouts.

“On the Senate side, we understand. I don’t think any Senators … said they don’t want any secured structure fence or wall or whatever you want to call it,” he said.

Manchin made the comment after the Senate failed to pass a Republican measure that would fund the government and provide over $5 billion in funds for a border wall and a Democratic measure that would fund the government, but not the wall.

Trump and Democratic leaders are in a standoff over funding for a border wall which has triggered the longest partial government shutdown in U.S. history.

Several other Democratic senators expressed support for a border wall.

“I know we’re going to have to add additional border security,” Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) told Fox News. “We’ve got about 700 miles of existing fencing. Where folks say we need additional barrier protections, I’m all for it.”

“Everybody is for border security,” Maine Democratic Sen. Angus King told CNN on Jan. 7. “The question is, let’s do it in a rational, economic, sensible way. There are places where a wall makes sense.”

“I am a huge advocate of border security. I think fencing makes sense in a lot of places. We have hundreds of miles of fencing, and in a lot of places, fences alongside roads make sense,” said Sen. Tom Carper (D-Del.).

Senator Bill Cassidy (R-La.) has documented statements from a total of seven Democratic senators supporting the idea of a border wall. Despite the public statements, Manchin was the only Democratic senator to vote on Jan. 24 for the measure that would fund the border wall. Republicans hold a 53-47 majority in the Senate and need seven Democrat votes to reach the 60-vote threshold to pass the border wall funding measure and end the shutdown.

A number of Democrats in the House of Representatives are also defying leadership to back the border wall. Cassidy documented 10 House Democrats who have expressed support for a border structure.

“Look, I think physical barriers are part of the solution. … If it’s protecting people, it’s moral. … So we’re for border security and I think we can get there,” House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said on Jan. 22.

“He’s not talking about a wall from sea to shining sea. That is not what we are talking about. We are talking about physical barriers as recommended by experts,” said Rep. Elaine Luria (D-Va.) on Jan. 23.

“Give Trump the money,” said Rep. Collin Peterson (D-Minn.) on Jan. 22. “I’d give him the whole thing … and put strings on it so you make sure he puts the wall where it needs to be. Why are we fighting over this? We’re going to build that wall anyway, at some time.”

The president was expected to make an announcement about the government shutdown from the White House on Jan. 25.

Follow Ivan on Twitter: @ivanpentchoukov
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