As he was headed to the Democratic caucus lunch yesterday, Senator Joe Manchin had strong words about the president’s extension of the employer mandate deadline.
“You’re just picking and choosing,” the West Virginia Democrat said of the administration’s decision. “First it’s basically the large employers, then it’s medium groups, then it’s 50 to 100 — medium-sized. If there’s a problem, there’s a problem.”
He said there’s bipartisan support for legislation postponing the implementation of the entirety of the Affordable Care Act until 2015.
“We’re sure in a transition period and they keep changing the dates,” the senator said, frustrated. “So I wish everyone would come to grips.”
But one of his Democratic colleagues, Senator Barbara Mikulski of Maryland, was unequivocally supportive of the move.
“I think it’s more important than we get it done right than fast,” she told NRO. “So I support the president’s decision. Typically these businesses that have to negotiate and — so I support the president’s decision.”
When I asked her if she thought it was valid to argue that delaying the employer mandate but not the individual one favors companies over individuals, she said, “I think I support the president’s initiative.”
And Montana’s Senator Jon Tester was sort of on the fence, saying he trusts that the president has access to information that justifies the move the move.
“You know, it’s probably the right thing to do,” he told NRO. “I mean, he probably looked at some metrics that caused him to make that decision. The rollout was rocky, everybody knows that.”
“Evidently there’s something he knows that I don’t know that would indicate that’s the right thing to do,” Tester said.