Two bills intended to end the shutdown failed in the Senate on Thursday. One bill allocating $5.7 billion for a border wall went down in flames 50-47 after Sens. Mike Lee and Tom Cotton voted no— Joe Manchin was the sole Democrat to vote yes. Another bill funding government operations through February 8 also failed to pass, going down 52-44. The two bills were considered by many to be test votes as the White House and leaders of both parties knew they would need 60 votes to pass.
Sen. Joe Manchin is backing off his support for a key nominee of President Trump. The West Virginia Democrat is withdrawing his support for Robert McNamee to be on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission after intense pressure from environmental activists in his party. Manchin unexpectedly voted against McNamee in a Wednesday procedural vote in the Senate. Despite being a Democrat, Manchin’s opposition was unexpected because he’s from a strongly pro-Trump state, he’s supported Trump’s energy agenda in the past, and he voted for NcNamee in committee just two weeks ago. Manchin cited recently released video of the Trump nominee trashing renewable energy as the reason for his no vote.
—QUOTABLE: “After viewing video footage, which I had not previously seen, where Bernard McNamee outright denies the impact that humans are having on our climate, I can no longer support his nomination to be a FERC commissioner.” -Manchin
In a dramatic vote on the floor of the U.S. Senate, judge Brett Kavanaugh won just enough votes to be confirmed to the Supreme Court on Saturday afternoon. The vote, was on an almost perfect party line 48-50 split, with West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin voting yes. Alaska Republican Lisa Murkowski was opposed, but voted “present” as a courtesy to colleague Sen. Steve Daines, who was not there but was instead walking his daughter down the aisle back in Montana.