West Virginia lawmakers push to reopen government
“We’re open for business again, the country is open for business, the government is open for business," West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) said Monday.
With one crucial vote, the senate ended the three daylong shutdown that froze all government funding putting hundreds of thousands of federal workers out of a job, including here in Parkersburg, West Virginia at the Bureau of Fiscal Service and at the Social Security office.
Many Democrats voted against an original short-term proposal on Friday because it didn’t include protections from Dreamers, illegal immigrants who entered the country as kids.
West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin wasn’t one of those Democrats.
“CHIP program for our children, pension program, I have my miners pension people that by 2022 an average pension of $586 dollars and mostly of them widows will be lost if we don’t do something," Manchin said.
Manchin voted to keep the government open on Friday during the initial vote. He hopes to include funding for miners’ pensions in future talks with leadership.
However, the deal reached Monday does include funding for CHIP, the Children’s Health Insurance Program.
As for addressing immigration in the plan, West Virginia Rep. David McKinley (R-WV-1) had this to say.
“Funding the government and providing our healthcare for our children are one issue. The other issue of immigration has nothing to do with the subject they got to keep them separate," he said.
Immigration and the dreamers were left out of Mondays compromise. Only with a promise to vote on reform in the coming weeks.
McKinley said he’s happy to have that discussion but the priority is getting the government up and running.
“Not just on DACA, but on the whole immigration where we’re having boarder security, where we’re having issues of chain migration and lottery, all those matters that come into play I hope will be a part of that conversation. Let’s get this behind us," he added.
For now, this is behind them. That’s until February 8, 2018 when Congress will vote again on another funding fix.
When asked if lawmakers can guarantee they won’t face this same situation again in another three weeks, Senator Manchin said there are no guarantees here.