Sen. Manchin takes aim at part of healthcare law

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who has been under fire from Republicans to reveal where he stands on healthcare repeal, announced Friday that he's co-sponsoring a bill to repeal one provision of the law. 

Along with Sen. Mike Johanns (R-Neb.), Manchin is co-sponsoring a bill to eliminate the so-called 1099 provision of the healthcare law, which imposes an additional tax filing requirement on small businesses for transactions over $600. 

Manchin did not endorse a full repeal of the law. 

"As small businesses struggle to make ends meet, we can’t force them to take on additional burdens that any reasonable person would reject," Manchin said in a statement Friday. 

Manchin faces voters again in 2012 when he has to run for a full six-year term. The Democrat won a bruising special election battle this past November over Republican John Raese to fill the seat of the late-Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.). 

Manchin distanced himself from President Obama and Washington Democrats during the campaign as Raese hammered him as a rubber stamp for Obama and the Senate leadership. 

In response to Raese's repeated attacks on Manchin over healthcare, the Democrat said he was open to repealing parts of the law, but never endorsed a wholesale repeal on the campaign trail. 

During the lame-duck session, Manchin also signed onto a measure to repeal the 1099 provision, but the effort fell short. 

The National Republican Senatorial Committee immediately went on the attack Friday over Manchin's announcement, lamenting that the Democrat didn't go further and signal his support for full repeal.

The new Republican majority in the House will vote on repeal next week, but the effort isn't expected to move in the Democratic-controlled Senate. 

"Just as Republicans predicted, once Joe Manchin got to Washington his position on President Obama’s health care bill has changed yet again," NRSC Spokesman Brian Walsh said in a statement. "Taking aim at just one small part of this onerous legislation, while leaving untouched $500 billion in Medicare cuts and huge tax increases on West Virginia families, isn’t leadership — it’s trying to have it both ways."