Senate Democrat backs delay of ObamaCare’s individual mandate

Breaking with President Barack Obama and Democratic leadership, Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said on Thursday that he would vote for a stop-gap spending measure that delayed ObamaCare’s individual mandate for one-year, citing the administration’s delay of the employer mandate:

“There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Manchin said at a Bloomberg Government breakfast today. “It’s very reasonable and sensible.”
[…]
Manchin, 66, said he’d be willing to delay the individual mandate as part of the budget negotiations because the Obama administration in July gave businesses an extra year to provide their workers with health insurance.

“Don’t put the mandate on the American public right now,” Manchin said. “Give them at least a year. If you know you couldn’t bring the corporate sector, you gave them a year, don’t you think it’d be fair?”

Chris Moody of Yahoo! News reports that Manchin will vote for the CR, including funding for ObamaCare, that Senate Democrats are expected to push through the chamber either today or tomorrow.

House Republicans are reportedly considering tacking on a one-year delay of the individual mandate to Continuing Resolution (CR) after the Senate returns the measure to the chamber. Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) confirmed on Thursday that it’s “unlikely” that he will accept a “clean” CR.

There are a couple of points to consider here. First, Manchin’s poll numbers have dropped, with only 46% of West Virginians approving of his job performance. While that may or may not play a role in this, the fair bet is that Manchin is aware of this.

The other point is that maybe Republicans and the grassroots, with emphasis on the latter, should have focused on delaying rather than defunding ObamaCare. Manchin’s defection isn’t significant by itself, but it does perhaps indicate that Senate Democrats from red states would be willing negotiate on ObamaCare. But with time quickly running out before a government shutdown, that opportunity is likely gone.


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