Sen. Joe Manchin apparently has broken with fellow Democrats on Obamacare Thursday, saying that he would support a one-year delay in health care law’s individual mandate, a central tenet of the new law.
Speaking at a Bloomberg Government breakfast, the West Virginia Democrat, said that he backed a stopgap funding resolution that puts the individual mandate on ice.
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“There’s no way I could not vote for it,” Mr. Manchin said, Bloomberg News reported. “It’s very reasonable and sensible.”
The individual mandate is a core part of the Affordable Care Act that requires that most Americans buy health coverage through health insurance exchanges.
Mr. Manchin’s comments represent a big blow to the Obama administration’s attempt to keep Democrats united as it prepares for open enrollment in the health exchanges, which kick off next week.
The remarks also come as congressional Republicans try to ramp up pressure on red-state Democrats up for re-election next year to join them in voting for continuing funding resolution that would keep the government running through the end of the fiscal year, which ends Sept. 30, while withholding funding for Obamacare.
Mr. Manchin is not up for re-election until 2016.