Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin says he is working on a bill with Republican Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia to delay Obamacare's individual mandate penalty for a year.
Manchin, of West Virginia, appeared on Fox News Channel's "The O'Reilly Factor"
, saying he'd be happy to get together with Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who said he has a bill that would extend open enrollment until after the flawed HealthCare.gov website has been running properly for six months.
Manchin said he won't attach his name to Rubio's bill, but his proposal would delay the tax penalty and fines imposed on those who do not buy health insurance until Jan. 1, 2015.
"I would support that. I think Sen. Rubio would support it," host Bill O'Reilly said.
"Marco's a good man, and we'll work well together, so I'll be talking with him," Manchin said. "Absolutely."
Manchin told O'Reilly he can put together a coalition, much like was done to re-open the government last week after a 16-day shutdown.
He told O'Reilly he can get three or four other Democrats to sign on with him. "I think, basically, there's enough movement that this can be a bipartisan movement to fix it."
Democrats in vulnerable races up for re-election next year have been hinting they're open to making tweaks to the law as website flaws mount and people who are able to find a plan are hit with sticker shock
Market Watch reports that even the White House is considering a delay of the individual mandate
after adamantly opposing it during the government shutdown.
"I came here to fix things," Manchin said. "Affordable health care was never meant to be, if you've got insurance now you're going to have to buy insurance that's more costly and not as good. That has to be fixed."
But if Republicans join him just to try to kill the law, he said, "that's another thing."
O'Reilly was skeptical that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., would back Manchin's plan.
"I think Harry might surprise you," Manchin responded.
Manchin also said he "can't imagine" Obama vetoing the bill if it passes Congress.
When O'Reilly turned to criticism of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Manchin would not agree that she needs to resign over the debacle of the website rollout.
"She doesn't know what she's doing, Senator. She has no clue," O'Reilly said. Manchin countered that she had been a successful insurance commissioner in Kansas and a successful governor."
"I was a successful semi-pro baseball player," O'Reilly answered. "That doesn't mean I can get websites up and running. Look, she had her chance, she blew it."
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