Senator Joe Manchin interview: Full Transcript

Sen. Manchin on shutdown
Sen. Manchin on shutdown 03:34

CBS News' chief Washington correspondent and host of "Face the Nation," John Dickerson, spoke to Sen. Joe Manchin, D-West Virginia, about threats of a government shutdown, and the state of the health care bill that recently passed in the House. 

What follows is a full transcript of the interview, which aired Sunday on "Face the Nation."


JOHN DICKERSON: We're joined by Democratic Senator Joe Manchin. He's in Charleston, West Virginia. Good morning, senator. I wanted to pick up on something that O.M.B. Director Mulvaney said. He said there might be something called a good shutdown. What do you think of the notion of a good shutdown?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: There is no good shutdown. There should not even be the talk of a shutdown. John, basically we can do a CR, a continuing resolution, for one day. We can do it for one week. We can do it for one month. But we should at least stay there and get our job done. Shutting it down puts too much, absolute too much, absolute agony on people. And it's just un-American. We should not do that. I've been through a shutdown. And it did not end well. And it wasn't good for anyone. And nobody gained a thing. So I hope that we get the shutdown out of our vocabulary, get back to working, staying there, and get our job done.

JOHN DICKERSON: Director Mulvaney said that this process that led to the agreement that kept the government until the fall was a bad process. Some people would look at it and say, "Well, the Democrats got something and the Republicans got something. And that's not altogether a bad thing when there's bipartisan cooperation."

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: Well, they're just not used to bipartisan cooperation. And it's so far and few in between they didn't know what to do with it when they got it. Everybody worked on something. We took care of our military, made sure. That was a big effort by many people on both sides of the aisle. But the Republicans, President Trump pushed that very hard. That was something that was needed. And we did that. There was other things we wanted to protect. Basically the well-being of people basically who have been left behind. In my state of West Virginia, a state that's done the heavy lifting for over 100 years, done the mining, provided energy for the country, made the steel, built guns and ships, defend the country. We've done it all. And we've had a lot of big challenges lately especially with the opiate addiction. We've kept funding in for that. So there's an awful lot of things that basically came out of this that was negotiated. It was a compromise. And that's something we should all be proud of.

JOHN DICKERSON: Senator, you mentioned the opioid addiction. There was a report that the White House is thinking in its next budget of largely zeroing out the budget or cutting 95% of the budget of the White House drug czar. What's your feeling about that?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: John, I would hope that that's not a serious consideration. This in any other sense of the word would be a pandemic. We've lost more Americans. I've lost over 800 West Virginians the last year. Lost their lives to opiate and drug addiction. This is something that we've got to fight. We've got to make sure that the F.D.A. does not put more product on the market than is needed, the D.E.A. their job of policing it, that basically we have doctors being more educated and not passing them out like M&Ms. We need to have treatment centers that take care of people. We need to start basically education from kindergarten all the way through adulthood. We need to get involved and stop this epidemic that's going on that's just ravaging. For the first time a lot of states have fallen below the amount of working people percentage-wise greater than those that are working. And that's never happened before. When you fall below 50% of your adults that should be working that aren't working, something's wrong. It's either addiction, conviction, or lack of skill sets. We have to attack this, John. And you don't cut 90% of the funding out of the greatest epidemic that we've ever had.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, Senator Manchin. We're going to talk to you in a moment after this short break we're going to take about health care and a few other topics. So stay with us. We'll be back with more from Senator Manchin.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

JOHN DICKERSON: Welcome back to "Face the Nation." We continue our conversation with West Virginia Democrat Senator Joe Manchin. Senator, what did you make of the health care bill that passed out of the House?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: I couldn't believe it. I really couldn't from this standpoint. We are a state, as I mentioned before, that's done a lot of heavy work for this country. Heavy lifting for over 100 years. We have a lot of preexisting conditions. I have a lot of people that are elderly. Every dynamic in every demography of my state gets absolutely slammed with this piece of legislation. So I said, "Get rid of the word repeal, and start talking about repairing." If they can get rid of the word repeal, John, we can sit down. Democrats and Republicans could work through this. We know that this bill needs to be fixed. The Affordable Care Act, there's not a Democrat who doesn't realize we need to work on the private market. But you're throwing the baby out with the bathwater. And then you're throwing insult to injury by giving a $575 billion tax cut to the wealthiest Americans while you're cutting $880 billion of service to the poorest Americans. If you want more synergies there, you know, I said this before, John. We have given 20 million people, 20 million people, health care they never had, never bought, don't know the value. We never gave them one word of instructions how to use it, how to use it more effectively, how to use it more efficiently, how to keep themselves healthier. Nutritional, lifestyle, changing their whole lifestyles. Making them more accountable and responsible. There is tremendous savings. We're not trying anything. We're just throwing the baby out with the bathwater in order to give a tax break. I just want to work, and sit down, and try to get something done. But no one's asked us. I understand that we have 13 Republican senators working on revamping the bill. Our congressional delegation said, "Don't worry. The Senate'll fix it." And no one's asked any Democrat. And I'm the most centrist Democrat willing to work and fix things if people really want to do it. But I can't do it with the threat of shutdown, repeal, throw it out.

JOHN DICKERSON: I want to move on quickly, senator, to the Intelligence Committee, which you sit on. You've gotten some more information. The C.I.A. has given some briefings. What's your view on any proof? Have you seen anything that suggests any collusion between the Russians and the Trump campaign?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN: Well, there's an awful lot of smoke there. Let's put it that way. People that might have said they were involved, to what extent they were involved, to what extent the president might have known about these people, whatever, there is nothing there from that standpoint that we have seen directly linking our president to any of that. But with the other thing being said, there is an awful lot of people surrounding that, whether it be Mike Flynn, Carter Page, Manafort, all these people of high interest. We're going to find out. This is going to be done. And the Senate, as I said before, is the workhorse of this operation. The Senate Intelligence Committee. When Carter Page says he wants to basically be cooperating and then all of a sudden we get another message, a strange message saying, "Well, if you want to know what's going on, check with President Obama or his administration," that's not the way to conduct a thorough investigation to get to the bottom to see if you had, you know, any concerns that we might have of your involvement with the Russians. We know the Russians did everything they could to be involved in our campaign. We know that what they're doing around the world right now, whether it be in France or other parts of the world. They'll do anything they can to disrupt any type of a freedom, if you will, or a democracy, or an involvement where there's an orderly transfer of power. That's not for them. They're going to do what they can. We have to make sure we stop it.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right. Senator Manchin, thank you so much for being with us.