West Virginia Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin III broke with much of his party on Tuesday to declare Vice President Kamala Harris’ statement that the Mexican border is secure to be “dead wrong.”
Harris told NBC over the weekend that “the border is secure” and that such security is a priority of hers and President Biden’s.
In a follow-up comment, Harris appeared to blame Donald Trump for any “deterioration” along the border, and then called for a “pathway to citizenship” for those who illegally entered the United States.
Manchin called out the vice president during a Fox News interview, in which he was asked by anchor Bret Baier whether Harris’ “secure” statement was correct.
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“It’s wrong. She’s dead wrong on that,” Manchin said.
“And I have said this: If we don’t secure I voted every time for the wall, but we need the wall a lot more technology, more agents.”
Manchin said the 2013 “Gang of Eight” immigration bill – authors of which included then-Sens. John McCain and Jeffrey Flake, R-Ariz., and Sens. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., and Charles Schumer, D-N.Y. – was the best opportunity thus far to secure the border.
“We couldn’t get it passed through the Republican House at that time because of some politics involved there,” he said, criticizing protestations from some conservatives at the time that the bill amounted to “amnesty.”
“That piece of legislation would have corrected everything we have going wrong,” he said.
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“But for … the vice president, or anybody [to] say our borders are secured, that is not accurate — I’ve been there. It’s wrong.”
In terms of Biden’s inflation reduction “celebration” at the White House, on the day inflation figures increased and the DJIA tanked, Manchin defended the Inflation Reduction Act as a responsibly-forged agreement that in one aspect will allow for the opportunity of increased domestic energy production, against the will of the progressive wing of his party.
“The Inflation Reduction Act is something my staff and I worked extremely hard on to make sure it was balanced. The most important thing we want to do is what our Republicans; my friends; [have] always talked about: produce more energy,” he said.
“This bill will produce more energy. We’ll drill more oil, will produce more oil, produce more natural gas.”
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In response, anchor Bret Baier noted that the act is still “not reducing inflation” despite its title.
Manchin countered that, citing the energy piece, if more product was to enter the market through increased production, it could at the least reduce inflation in the U.S. energy sector.
“On top of that, we have the Medicare reduction – as far as putting that and being able to negotiate, [like] in my state [where] 300,000 people on Medicare are going to see reduction of their drug prices.”
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As far as the upcoming continuing-resolution government funding bill, Manchin said he is already resigned to the proposition that left-wing members of his caucus like Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont will not support it if it includes a reported fossil-fuel-energy aspect.
In that case, he expressed hope that a dozen Republicans could join him and the less progressive Democrats to pass the resolution.
“Don’t you think there will be at least 15 or more of Republicans who have always wanted a knowing that we can’t run this country when it takes us ten years to build something and other countries around the world are doing it, too?” he asked.