Manchin: Trump will help on miners' fight

Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinGOP sees fresh opening with Dems’ single payer embrace Trump steps up courtship of Dems The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE said Monday that President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpBiden slams Trump over golf gif hitting Clinton Trump Jr. declines further Secret Service protection: report Report: Mueller warned Manafort to expect an indictment MORE supports a permanent fix on miners' healthcare benefits, giving a boost to a key issue for the West Virginia Democrat. 

"Today, I spoke with President-Elect Donald Trump and he assured me that he will help fight to secure a permanent health care solution for our retired miners, as guaranteed in the Miners Protection Act," Manchin said in a statement.
 
Democrats — led by Manchin — brought the government to the brink of a shutdown last month because of a fight over healthcare benefits for thousands of miners and their families. 
 
In his statement, Manchin added that he looks forward "to working with him, his administration and my colleagues in order to keep America’s promise to our miners and make sure they receive the healthcare they have earned and deserve."
 
Democrats launched a failed bid in December to try to get a full year included to give more certainty to miners and their families, but the short-term continuing resolution included only an extension of benefits until the end of April.
 
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Manchin said after the floor fight that he would raise the issue with Trump, noting his broad support in West Virginia coal communities.  

“He wants to help coal miners,” Manchin said on NBC's "Meet the Press." “I wanted to make sure. I wanted to look at him and talk to him and make sure we are on the same path.”

Majority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellSenate passes 0B defense bill Overnight Health Care: New GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Overnight Finance: CBO to release limited analysis of ObamaCare repeal bill | DOJ investigates Equifax stock sales | House weighs tougher rules for banks dealing with North Korea MORE (R-Ky.) has also called finding a fix on miners' healthcare benefits a top priority.

Manchin is increasingly positioning himself ahead of his reelection as a bridge between Senate Democrats and the Trump administration. On Twitter, incoming White House counselor and former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway praised Manchin's statement on the miners as a bipartisan example of "putting peoples' [sic] interests above politics."

Manchin is one of 10 Democrats up for reelection in states carried by Trump in the presidential race — in Manchin's case, by more than 40 percentage points.

Manchin met last week with Vice President-elect Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceNew GOP ObamaCare repeal bill gains momentum Pence hires Freedom Caucus adviser for press secretary Lawmakers, pick up the ball on health care and reform Medicaid MORE on the same day that he skipped a closed-door meeting with President Obama on the Affordable Care Act. 

He also met with Trump amid speculation that he was under consideration for a Cabinet post and blasted heated rhetoric against the president-elect from retired Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.).