At Least Four Democrats Promised Support for Border Wall Funding This Year

Zachary Stieber
By Zachary Stieber
December 21, 2018Politics

At least four Democrats promised to vote for funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall while campaigning for re-election this year prior to the November midterm elections.

A spending bill approved by the House on Dec. 20 was set to go before the Senate but needs 60 votes to get approved there.

The Senate currently has 51 Republicans and 49 Democrats.

But speaking just months ago, multiple Democrats signaled that they would vote for the border wall as they campaigned in so-called red states, or states that primarily vote Republican in presidential elections.

In June, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-West Va.) said in a television advertisement: “I wanted Mexico to pay for the wall. But they’re not. So we need to do it ourselves. I voted to fund President Trump’s wall. Check the vote.”

Manchin won re-election being a Democrat in deep red West Virginia. He voted on Feb. 15 for a Trump-backed, Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) sponsored-immigration bill that included money for the border wall. The bill failed 39-60.

In August, Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) told Politico: “I actually voted for border wall funding three different times. I’m fine with that. I’m fine with $3, $3.5, $4, or $5 [billion].”

Donnelly voted for the Grassley legislation and several variations of it. The bill would have delivered amnesty to illegal aliens who entered the country while young, known as Dreamers, in exchange for $25 billion in wall funding.

The current spending bill includes $5.7 billion for the border wall. Donnelly lost his bid for re-election and will be out of office in January 2019.

Also in August, a spokeswoman for Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) indicated to Politico that the Senator would vote for funding for the wall, stating: “Jon wants to secure our border and is willing to make responsible investments in manpower, technology, fencing and, in places, a wall.”

jon tester at senate hearing
Sen. Jon Tester (D-Mont.) at a Senate hearing in Washington on Sept. 27, 2017. (Samira Bouaou/The Epoch Times)

“However, he has concerns about the cost of the wall to American taxpayers,” the spokeswoman added.

Tester won a tight re-election race.

In August, Sen. Heidi Heitkamp (D-N.D.) told Breitbart: “I’ve always supported increased and enhanced border security along our southwest border with Mexico … and yes, wall funding as well.”

She said she generally supports funding for the border wall but said it depends on the language in specific pieces of legislation, adding: “The devil is always in the detail.”

She said she’d prefer to pass a spending bill that includes wall funding, such as the one currently being considered, rather than shut down the government. Heitkamp also lost her bid for re-election.

White House

The White House has slammed Democrats for not expressing support for the spending bill, noting that most Democrats say they support border security but few have actually made specific proposals.

“Stephen, the Democrats support border security,” CNN host Wolf Blitzer told Stephen Miller, a top adviser to President Trump, during an exchange on Dec. 20. “They don’t support $5 billion for a wall.”

Miller responded that Blitzer could not name some of the border security proposals that Democrats support, and Blitzer was indeed unable to.

“Like what? They voted against case law. They voted against ending sanctuary cities. They voted against supporting MS-13 gang members, they voted against supporting violent criminals,” Miller said.

“They voted time and time against a physical border wall to stop illegal entry. I mean, where is the evidence that you keep asserting they’re for border security? They haven’t been. They oppose closing loopholes for asylum.”

President Donald Trump spoke out on the issue on Friday, saying in a tweet: “The Democrats, whose votes we need in the Senate, will probably vote against Border Security and the Wall even though they know it is DESPERATELY NEEDED. If the Dems vote no, there will be a shutdown that will last for a very long time. People don’t want Open Borders and Crime!”

He noted that walls work, using the wall in Israel as an example: “Properly designed and built Walls work, and the Democrats are lying when they say they don’t. In Israel, the Wall is 99.9% successful.”

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