Manchin on failed border bill: 'Quit worrying' about party politics and getting reelected

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) urged the Senate Republicans who voted against advancing the long-sought bipartisan border security deal to “start putting your country before yourself,” on Wednesday.

“When you have a chance to change and everyone comes to an agreement, with President Biden and everyone else also agreeing that this bill will give us the tools to secure our border and politics raises its ugly head? Absolutely it’s from the bowels of wherever to say that, ‘I’m sorry, that’s not going to be good for my politics,’” Manchin said during an interview on CNN’s “The Lead with Jake Tapper.”

“Well I’m sorry to all of my friends and colleagues — this is for America, this is good for our country,” he continued. “Start putting your country before yourself. Quit worrying about being a Democrat or Republican getting reelected. If you have to do this to get reelected, then you shouldn’t want to serve.”

His comments came shortly after a motion to proceed on a border security package failed by a vote of 49-50 after weeks of negotiations between both sides of the aisle. A majority of the GOP conference in the upper chamber voted against advancing it, save for Republican Sens. Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska), Mitt Romney (Utah) and James Lankford (Okla.) — one of the deal’s lead negotiators — who voted in favor of advancing the bill.

The bill was part of a larger emergency foreign aid package to Ukraine and Israel’s war efforts, and Indo-Pacific security, after Senate Republicans repeatedly insisted any aid to Ukraine must be linked with border security reform.

Manchin touted Lankford’s negotiating work, calling him “one of the most sincere conservatives you’re ever going to meet,” and argued the bill had border policies that have been discussed “forever.”

Manchin, who is considered one of the most moderate Democrats in the Senate, said the bill’s collapse “reaffirmed” his decision not to run for reelection this fall.

“I have come to the conclusion we’re not going to fix the political posturing in Washington — here in Congress — from Washington. It’ll be fixed outside of Washington,” he said.

CNN anchor Jake Tapper pointed to Romney’s comments late last month that contended former President Trump wanted to kill the border deal so that he could use it as an issue to campaign against President Biden in the 2024 presidential election.

Asked if that is his understanding of why the bill collapsed, Manchin said, “Well, that’s the appearance of what happened because basically, it was moving down a pathway…a path of passing.”

A handful of Democratic senators also voted against advancing the measure, including Ed Markey (Mass.), Bob Menendez (N.J.), Alex Padilla (Calif.) and Elizabeth Warren (Mass.).

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) also voted against the bill, citing Israel’s bombardment of Gaza that has killed over 27,700 Palestinians since early October, per the Gaza Health Ministry. The package would have given billions in aid to Israel for its fight against Palestinian militant group Hamas, a U.S. terrorist organization that has ruled Gaza since 2007.

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