Transcript: Sen. Joe Manchin on "Face the Nation," Jan. 14, 2018

Bipartisan DACA progress
Bipartisan DACA progress 06:14

After a week of negotiations over immigration reform and government spending, President Trump's remark about the U.S. accepting immigrants from so-called "sh*thole" countries threw the prospects of reaching a deal on DACA and border security into question. Democrats and some Republicans condemned the president's remark while vowing to forge ahead on reaching a deal to keep the government open ahead of a looming shutdown.

Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia joined CBS News' "Face the Nation" Sunday to discuss Mr. Trump's remarks, the immigration debate and the federal budget. Manchin is known as a lawmaker who's willing to work across the aisle, and identified areas he says Congress can find common ground.

The following is a transcript of the interview with Manchin that aired Sunday, Jan. 14, 2018, on "Face the Nation."  

JOHN DICKERSON: And we're back with Democratic Senator, Joe Manchin, who joins us from Charleston, West Virginia. Welcome, senator. Where do you think things are on this--

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Thanks, John, for having me.

JOHN DICKERSON: --on this negotiation over DACA and the Dreamers?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I'm encouraged. I mean, first of all, we have a bipartisan recommendation, a bipartisan legislation, that's been worked on- worked out after they sat down last week with the president. And it seems to do everything that was asked of them. I- I would be very, very encouraged that hopefully all of my colleagues are going to look at this in a very positive way. And if the president said what he said, as far as you give me something in a bipartisan way, something you work out, and I'll sign it, we hope to get that done and move on. But this is- all -all the hyper that's going on around it is unbelievable to me.

JOHN DICKERSON: Well, when you say it's unbelievable, what's unbelievable?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, first of all, someone saying that Senator Durbin or Senator Graham is going to make something up, that the President of the United States has said, and thinking that they would do that in order to gin up people on one way or another, that's wrong. Senator Durbin and Senator Graham? I don't believe that any senator would walk in and make something up so atrocious as that, and say this is what was said, when it wasn't said. So we've got to move on. I mean, if it was said in whatever content it was said, it was hurtful, it's harmful, it shouldn't have been said, but let's move on. Don't let it stop the whole procedure.

JOHN DICKERSON: Some Democrats would like to use this to-to kind of push Republicans, make them answer for it, be particularly-- you know use it as a way to gain more leverage over getting what they for policy reasons. Obviously, also they want to use it to politically hurt the president and his party.

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: John, listen, that's wrong, too. If- if my fellow colleagues and Democrats in the caucus want to do something, that's wrong. That doesn't fix anything. We have a shutdown looming. We have to make sure this government runs and operates in a functional way. It takes all of us working as Americans. I take a oath to represent everybody in West Virginia.

I don't take an oath just to represent people on the Democrat side who support me, or people on the Republican side who might be opposed to me or whatever. I'm representing all of them. And we have got to move this country forward. We're the hope of the world. You know when you look- I heard my friend, Lindsey Graham, saying, America, we're not just a country of race, we're a country of ideas, of hopes and dreams all over the world.

Why can't we espouse and do that and make that dream come true? People have to have that opportunity. We need more border security, John. In 19- I mean in 2013, 68 senators, John, Democrats and Republicans, voted for a mammoth overhaul of the immigration. John, we had $42 billion that was going to be spent for border security. That did include more wall. It included technology, more border agents. It did everything to secure our border down.

And the people coming here, we should know they're coming for the right reasons. But they also should be coming for the dream of America. We can't shut that down, nor should we. But we should be much more selective, careful and use every ounce of technology to prevent people coming for the wrong reasons.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you about- this- this negotiation here is going to be like any negotiation this year which is going to require 60 votes. You're always on the top of the list of people the president would need to get those 60 votes in the Senate. How much outreach have you gotten either from Republicans or the White House on- on anything in this new landscape where they're going to need to get nine Democrats to pass anything?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, first of all, John, I'm glad that we're back in regular order. Regular order in the Senate is not the same regular order in the House. The House operates on a simple majority; 218 Democrats or 218 Republicans can do whatever they want to, without even considering the other side.

We saw what happened when we tried to operate under the budget reconciliation gimmick with health care refor- repeal and then with the tax cuts. There was no outreach to Democrats, trying to work with Democrats, even myself being very centrist, more of a conservative nature; none at all. Now, they need nine. I'm going to be there when it's right. I'll be an honest broker when- when I think there's something that we can do better.

And I won't be against something for the sake of politics. If I'm going to be against something, it's because I think there's a better way to improvement.


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: That's what I'm going to do, John. And I think we can. We can get more than nine or ten Democrats. I think we can have an overall majority, hopefully of 60, 65 or 70 Democrats and Republicans, working together. We're not going to get the extremes.

JOHN DICKERSON: Let me ask you--

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: That's never going to happen.

JOHN DICKERSON: --speaking of extremes, government funding looks like it's going to run out here, is there going to be a deal on that? Or are we headed for another one of these moments?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, first of all, John, shame on any of us. We sit here and say, okay, we're going to let it run out for the sake of politics and shut the government down. None of us should be setting there. None of us even should be representing the good states that we represent, such as West Virginia, Colorado and Arkansas, if we allow that to happen.

There's no sense for that to happen. We can come to an agreement. The president has to stand firm and say, listen, this is a bipartisan deal. And I truly believe, and I've said this, every time I've been in the presence of the President of the United States, President Trump, I always felt that he wanted to do things in bipartisan.

I think that after we leave the meeting, then the hardcore comes at him. The hardcore of the base, the extremes, come hard at him and changes things a little bit. I think he's going to stand firm. We're going to get something done and move forward and it's going to be good for our country.

JOHN DICKERSON: Thirty seconds, senator. There's an important issue at- at stake which some people think is worth fighting over, which is for funding for the C.H.I.P. program to help the- the children of the working poor--


JOHN DICKERSON: That's important to West Virginia. So isn't that worth having a fight over, to get that funding?

SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Oh that is, Trust me, we're going to get funding for C.H.I.P. But to allow it to string on a hundred days, when it expired a hundred days ago I've got 50,000 West Virginia children, this is wrong, so wrong. Where's your priorities? Where's your values? These are the children. And if you can't give the children a healthy start, then who are we as a country?


SENATOR JOE MANCHIN So this needs to be done and they shouldn't play politics with it.

JOHN DICKERSON: All right, senator, we're going to have to end it there. We're out of time. Thanks so much for being with us. And we'll--


JOHN DICKERSON: --we'll be right back.