Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
December 23, 2014

Manchin Doubts Obama Would Veto Bipartisan Delay of Individual Mandate (Updated)

manchin 116 091713 445x329 Manchin Doubts Obama Would Veto Bipartisan Delay of Individual Mandate (Updated)

(Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Updated 8:57 p.m. | Sen. Joe Manchin III said Wednesday that he couldn’t “imagine” President Barack Obama would veto a yearlong delay of the individual mandate that the West Virginia Democrat is working to draft.

In a preliminary move that could jam his own politically vulnerable colleagues, Manchin’s working on a bill to delay the individual mandate under Obamacare by a year, his office confirmed earlier Wednesday.

“I think basically there’s enough movement that this could really be a bipartisan movement to fix it,” Manchin said during an appearance on Bill O’Reilly’s program on Fox News, specifying that he wouldn’t back efforts that would try to kill the law.

Manchin told O’Reilly he did not foresee a veto of a delay bill “if we’re trying to work together to improve it, to identify the problems that need to be corrected — and those that can’t be fixed you ought to get rid of, but we’ve got to get through that process.”

“The easiest vote I can make up here Bill is a no vote. I can vote no against everything and be fine. It’d be the happy retirement home, but I came here to fix things,” Manchin said. “This bill has a lot of good things that’s helped a lot of people in West Virginia. It has a lot of challenges. Affordable health care was never meant to be — if you’ve got insurance, now you’re going to have to buy insurance that’s more costly and not as good. That has to be fixed.”

Republican Marco Rubio of Florida is working on legislation to delay the mandate indefinitely — which Manchin’s office says the senator does not support — and it’s entirely possible the GOP could push for a delay provision to be included as an amendment vote to the next moving vehicle, using Manchin’s effort as leverage inside the Dome and as political fodder outside it, from entities such as the National Republican Senatorial Committee. The Rubio bill would delay the mandate for six months after a Government Accountability Office certification that the healthcare.gov website is working.

Manchin said on Fox that he was developing a measure with Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., that would delay the mandate until the beginning of January 2015.

“He believes that this year should be a transition year and the penalty should not be imposed. He does believe that individuals should still be able to sign up for the exchanges if they want,” Manchin spokesman Jonathan Kott said in an emailed statement.

Senate Republicans have focused extensively on targeting in-cycle Democrats from more moderate states for their support of health care, including Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Kay Hagan of North Carolina, Mary L. Landrieu of Louisiana and Mark Begich of Alaska. A Democrat floating legislation that would keep the mandate, which is the heart of the Democrats’ health care law, in the spotlight, knowing that the administration and leadership likely would prevent it from becoming law with exchanges already open, only creates political heartache for Democrats and bolsters the Republican position.

An actionable bill — as opposed to just a slap-on-the-wrist letter, like one Tuesday from in-cycle Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D-N.H. — will force Democrats to take public positions, potentially repeatedly, on an issue that could be neatly packaged into attack ads.

O’Reilly told Rubio on Tuesday’s “The O’Reilly Factor” that he would invite the West Virginia senator on the show to discuss partnering with Republicans on legislation.

“Yes, get Manchin’s name on it. Get Manchin of West Virginia’s name on it,” O’Reilly told Rubio. “And then you know it will be interesting to see if he has stones — pardon the expression — to put his name on something like that because he said he would. He said he would support it. So if you can get him.”

On Wednesday, O’Reilly told Manchin that he hoped the two senators would work together to find a compromise. He added that he plans to invite both Rubio and Manchin back for further discussions next week.

Clarification: This post has been updated to clarify the specifics of the Rubio bill.

  • F Michael Addams

    Gee…Ya’ think he’s lookin fer’ some political cover fer’ next years election..?..Harry Reid probably gave him the checkered flag on this ploy..Shhh…goin’ nowhere…

    • JOT

      He’s not up for reelection until 2018.

    • DrSquishy

      Reid will never allow this to be put up for a vote regardless.

  • DrSquishy

    Reid will never bring this bill up for a vote in the Senate.

    • Nick Farrinaci

      What choice do they have? Are they going to tax people that cannot access the product they are mandated to buy? Erza, a well known Obamabot, reported today the website is de facto dead and will require major coding repair well into December.

      • F Michael Addams

        Enrollment is currently open ’till April the first 2014…let’s not piss ourselves three weeks in…Y2K..!…Y2K..!…snore…snore..

  • proudestamerican

    This is unnecessary as there is no penalty for not being covered in the first year.

  • colony14author

    Eliminate the individual mandate and what happens? The sick people still sign up and get subsidies, and no one else signs up. That makes ObamaCare even more expensive and raises the deficit even higher.

    Idiots all. Repeal the whole darn thing.

    • rhallnj

      Probably about one million people have by now put in applications, and that will soon be several million. Do you just tell them “sorry, it’s not on”?

  • 5466ron

    To hell with delay, kill the whole damned thing !

  • rhallnj

    They have already pushed back the drop dead date by six weeks, and can do so again without getting Congressional show boaters involved.

  • JP2012

    So let me guess this straight…when Republicans attempted to delay the implementation of the mandate they were called traitors, baby killers, arsonists, etc. Now the Dems want legislation with Dem sponsors to delay the implementation of the mandate and it’s a stroke of legislative brilliance? Republicans should sit on their hands and let this monstrosity fester through 2014 so that the Dems can own it 100% come November.

  • 1DUKEZ

    I can’t believe the incompetence of our Congress.. He just told us that it was ready and can’t be delayed. He even shut down the government to show how certain he was. Now, a 2-3 weeks later, a slew of Congress members are coming out of the wood work demanding it be delayed. Let’s just do a “Butch Cassidy” moment, Tell them all to pound sand, go over the cliff and see what our illustrious Congress wants for us.
    By-the_ By: They made sure that their immune from all this pain. And in watching what someone has to pay for healthcare, don’t just look at the premium. I’ll personally give you a policy for 10 dollars a month with a annual deductible of 10 million. ,

  • David Foss

    I got screwed by Obama Care!!!!

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