While on his town hall tour, titled “Coffee and Common Sense,” Democratic Senator Joe Manchin stopped at the Canaan Valley Fire Hall last Thursday to explain some of his stances and answer questions.
Manchin addressed Vice President Pence’s recent criticisms toward him and explained his rationale. Pence criticized Manchin’s refusal to vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and his lack support for President Trump’s Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The verbal scuff between the Vice President and Senator made national headlines throughout last week.
Throughout his explanations of his stances, Senator Manchin referred back to his participation in the Common Sense Caucus, a 25-member group in the Senate. “It’s the only group, in Congress, now working truly now in a bipartisan way,” he said. Manchin emphasized the theme of common sense by stating that he works with and supports politicians on both sides of the political spectrum.
Manchin was critical of what he sees as the consolidation of power the in Senate. He hopes the bipartisan committee will influence the Senate leaders. “We are trying to take it back, these Senators,” Manchin said.
The Common Sense Caucus is currently negotiating immigration policies. Manchin took input from the crowd on the issue. The subject of the border wall was brought up, which Manchin stated he supports. “We need more walls to secure the border,” Manchin said. He defended his support for the wall by stressing that the border security is intended to keep threatening individuals, such as drug traffickers or terrorists, not families or DACA immigrants out of the country.
Manchin spoke on the opioid epidemic that weighs on West Virginia so heavily. He explained his work on the Budgeting for Opioid Addiction Treatment Act, also known as the Lifeboat Act. As he saw jails throughout the state reach maximum capacity, Manchin said he wanted to help provide treatment to those addicted.
The bill proposes to charge pharmaceutical companies one penny per milligram of prescription drug manufactured in order to pay for a national rehabilitation program. Manchin is struggling to gain support for the bill.
He was asked to elaborate on his stance on the Antiquities Act and West Virginia State Bill 270. “I’m not opposed, but I’m not in support, as far as just saying, ‘Throw caution to the wind,'” Manchin said.
Manchin is seeking relection this year.