Roll Call is reporting that Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) is working on a bill to delay the individual mandate by a year according to his office.
It’s not yet clear what the Manchin legislation would look like. Manchin’s office only would confirm that it’s being discussed and the senator is looking for co-sponsors.
“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.
…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.
Manchin will appear on Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor” tonight to talk about delaying the individual mandate. Host Bill O’Reilly told Rubio on Tuesday that he would invite the West Virginia senator on the show to discuss partnering with Republicans on legislation.
This bill coming from a Democrat will be an embarrassment to the Obama administration. After the House bill to defund Obamacare was rejected by the Senate, the House followed up with a bill that would fund the program but delay the individual mandate for a year. That was tabled by the Senate.
Should this bill reach the Senate floor (a big if) it will surely be supported by the Democrats running for reelection in 2014 and possibly others, along with Senate Republicans.
Dana Bash from CNN says the 2014 Senate Democrats are rushing to find a way to disassociate themselves from the President’s signature legislature.
If passed it would mean the Democrats shut down the government for almost three weeks for nothing.
Update: Manchin was on O’Reilly’s show tonight and discussed his effort to delay the mandate:
“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.”