Sen. Joe Manchin from West Virginia opted not to attend a meeting between Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama to hammer out strategies to save Obamacare, according to a Wednesday report from Politico.
Manchin cited the fact that Obama only planned to speak with Democrats about the issue in private as central to his ultimate decision. A supporter of Obamacare, according to his own statements, Manchin reportedly also understands that working together towards a solution is the best way to help average Americans.
“In good conscience, I can’t do it. If anyone listened and paid attention to what the American people said when they voted, they want this place to work,” Manchin told Joe Scarborough on MSNBC. “We have the outgoing president coming up here today to talk to only Democrats. Only Democrats. We have the incoming vice president coming up to talk only to Republicans. Joe, that’s not what makes this place work and that is really what is wrong with the place. I just think it’s absolutely wrong.”
Vice President-elect Mike Pence also went to Capitol Hill Wednesday, but he chose to speak only with Republicans about plans to replace the controversial 2010 law.
“I’m willing to look at replacing, repairing, doing anything that we can to make it better but put something on the table. I just can’t believe the Republicans will go down this path and just throw it out and say trust us, in two or three years, we will fix it,” he said. “I’ve been here six years. We haven’t fixed very many things. And anyone has trust and belief that we will fix, they’re living in fantasy land.”
Machin’s approach seems to be better for Democrats based on the current political climate. President-elect Donald Trump ran his campaign largely on a promise to “repeal and replace” Obamacare, and several states that were projected easy wins for Clinton turned for Trump — a fact that some observers interpret as a mandate for Trump to act.
Manchin in particular comes from a state hit hard by fellow Democrats. Both Clinton and Obama made statements against the coal industry, an industry that keeps much of West Virginia employed.
Manchin reaffirmed that Obamacare insures 172,000 residents in his state, and warned that simply taking it away will force voters in the mountain state to identify Republicans with greater hardship than Democrats ever saddled on the region with the passing of Obamacare.
“Now, a lot of the people didn’t know and they really still don’t know how they got health care called affordable care act or Obamacare, but I’ll assure you one thing, they’ll know who did it and got rid of it,” he said. “They’ll know that. They might not know how they got it. They’ll know how they got rid of it.”
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