MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — There’s a deal to be had to avoid a partial government shutdown — at least according to Rep. David McKinley, R-W.Va., this morning on MetroNews “Talkline” with Hoppy Kercheval.
“We oughta be able to compromise and do something and provide — what you’re saying Hoppy — some face saving for both sides,” McKinley said.
Congress and the President remain at something of an impasse on a Homeland Security appropriations bill, which could result in a partial government shutdown at the end of this week.
President Trump and the Republicans are asking for $5 billion in border security to “build the wall” as McKinley put it. Meanwhile, Democrats — set to take control of the House of Representatives in just a few weeks — are suggesting a number fewer than $2 billion over concerns that the Trump Administration failed to spend money they’ve previously been appropriated for border security.
“It’s taken them two years to spend $1.6 billion,” said U.S. Senator Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., also appearing on “Talkline” Monday morning. “But now they’ve get contracts up and running, they say they can do it faster. Can they do $5 billion and have construction underway in a two year period? That should be what’s on the table.”
The impasse has left around 25 percent of government function at risk of shutting down, according to McKinley.
“I think there’s going to be a compromise,” he said. “And I hope they do. That’s what Washington should be doing better.”
Though, he added, Democrats have actually lowered what they’re willing to offer in appropriations to $1.3 billion. McKinley said a balance between $1.3 billion and $ 5 billion must exist.
“Let’s not shut down government,” he added.
The debate over “a wall” has also left some with, perhaps, a misconception of what that actually means. Manchin said building an actual ‘conrete wall’ isn’t possible, which means the wall is really a type of fencing. McKinley, meanwhile, described the wall as a “euphemism” or catch-all to describe border security in general.
“I think the way we’ve defined it in the house, it could be physical barrier, it could be drones, it could be surveillance, it could be military presence,” he said. “People want to have border security. We just, euphemistically or broadly, refer to it as a wall.”
Manchin returned to praising the 2013 comprehensive reform package — the Border Security, Economic Opportunity, and Immigration Modernization Act of 2013 — as a solution. That bill passed the U.S. Senate 68-32 but was never brought to vote in the House of Representatives.
“It’s a piece of legislation that fixes everything President Trump has been talking about,” Manchin said. “But because it was a campaign promise, they won’t look at it. They won’t bring it up because the far-right is saying anyway a person got here, no matter what they are doing, how productive they are, how valuable they are to our economy, we got to get rid of them. That’s amnesty if you let them stay.”
CNN reported Monday morning that the shutdown, now five days away, could be solved by a short-term solution — a stopgap spending bill that allows the incoming Congress to deal with the question of border security.