CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, facing a tough re-election in three weeks in a state President Trump won by 42 percentage points in 2016, has co-written a series of op-ed pieces with Republican senators in an effort to demonstrate his bipartisan chops.
The West Virginia Democrat’s views have appeared from time to time in newspapers, particularly in his home state, but perhaps not in as rapid fashion as this.
The five opinion pieces appeared in West Virginia newspapers over the past week and focus on the Affordable Care Act along with energy and national security, veterans’ issues and the opioid epidemic. Manchin co-wrote them with Republican Sens. Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan of Alaska, Johnny Isakson of Georgia and Marco Rubio of Florida.
“West Virginians elected me to put their interests above politics and they know I have always done that,” Manchin said in a statement. “Part of that is working with my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to find areas we agree.
“We’ve worked together to make sure coal is part of our all-of-the-above energy portfolio, legislation to end the opioid epidemic, repair our broken healthcare system, provide for our veterans and fully fund our military. These are not Democratic or Republican issues, they’re American issues and my colleagues recognize this.”
Manchin is running against Republican state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey on Nov. 6.
In a statement Wednesday, Morrisey campaign spokesman Nathan Brand called Manchin “a dishonest Washington liberal who only acts bipartisan around election day …”
Murkowski is the Republican chair of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, of which Manchin is a member. Their op-ed piece notes “we have found many ways we can work in a bipartisan manner to improve our nation’s energy policy.”
In the piece on attempts to make changes to the Affordable Care Act, Collins and Manchin wrote that “we must stop allowing partisanship to be the pre-existing condition that prevents meaningful health care reform.”
An op-ed also points out the work of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, which is chaired by Isakson and of which Manchin is a member. “There are no Republican soldiers or Democratic soldiers on the battlefield — only American soldiers,” the piece reads.