Vulnerable Dems ready to work with Trump

Vulnerable Dems ready to work with Trump
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Vulnerable Senate Democrats up for reelection in 2018 are already identifying areas where they’re willing to work with President-elect Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpIvanka Trump pens op-ed on kindergartners learning tech Bharara, Yates tamp down expectations Mueller will bring criminal charges Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open MORE and Republican colleagues. 

North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWells Fargo chief defends bank's progress in tense Senate hearing Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Red-state Dems need more from Trump before tax embrace MORE (D-N.D.) is ready to work with Republicans on legislation to invest in “clean coal” technologies.

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More broadly, she says she’s willing to work across the aisle on regulatory reform.

“My priority is standing up for North Dakota, not party politics. The reason I’m in the U.S. Senate is to work with Republicans and Democrats to get things done,” she told The Hill in a statement.  

Sen. Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyKoch-backed group targets red-state Dems on tax reform Dems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Agricultural trade demands investment in MAP and FMD MORE (D-Ind.) is ready to work with the GOP and the Trump administration on military mental healthcare issues, curbing the exodus of U.S. jobs to foreign countries and combating the opioid epidemic.

“My responsibility to Hoosiers is to support the best ideas, regardless of whether the idea comes from a Republican or Democrat,” he said in a statement.

Sen. Jon TesterJonathan (Jon) TesterOvernight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Overnight Finance: White House requests B for disaster relief | Ex-Equifax chief grilled over stock sales | House panel approves B for border wall | Tax plan puts swing-state Republicans in tough spot Senators grill ex-Equifax CEO over stock sales MORE (D-Mont.) hopes to work with Republicans to reduce the deficit, clean up Washington by stopping former lawmakers from becoming lobbyists and passing legislation to improve service at the Department of Veterans Affairs, a major Trump talking point during the campaign.

“If it creates jobs, strengthens our economy, and is good for Montana then chances are I’m on board.  We can’t just say ‘no’ because the idea comes from the other side of the aisle,” he said.

All three Democrats represent states that Trump won in a landslide this month.

They all appear to realize they need to show off their bipartisan credentials early to avoid GOP attacks down the line.

While outgoing Senate Democratic Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidChris Murphy’s profile rises with gun tragedies Republicans are headed for a disappointing end to their year in power Obama's HHS secretary could testify in Menendez trial MORE (Nev.) didn’t want Democrats to work with vulnerable Republicans ahead of the 2016 elections, his heir apparent Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerOvernight Health Care: Schumer calls for tying ObamaCare fix to children's health insurance | Puerto Rico's water woes worsen | Dems plead for nursing home residents' right to sue Crying on TV doesn't qualify Kimmel to set nation's gun agenda Trump knocks ‘fake’ news coverage of his trip to Puerto Rico MORE (D-N.Y.) is signaling a willingness to let his members do what they need to do to survive in the next Congress.

Schumer named another vulnerable Democrat, Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinOvernight Energy: EPA aims to work more closely with industry Overnight Finance: Lawmakers grill Equifax chief over hack | Wells Fargo CEO defends bank's progress | Trump jokes Puerto Rico threw budget 'out of whack' | Mortgage tax fight tests industry clout Lawmakers try again on miners’ pension bill MORE (D-W.Va.), to his leadership team.

Manchin voted against Reid serving another term as leader after the 2014 midterm election and recently slammed him as divisive for criticizing Trump in the wake of his victory.   

A spokesman for Manchin said his top priorities next year include working with Trump and Republicans to pass the Miners protection Act, roll back “harmful regulations” on coal, renegotiate trade policies and rebuild the nation’s infrastructure. 

Trump won West Virginia with nearly 69 percent of the vote. 

Tester and two other Democrats up for reelection in 2018 in states won by Trump, Bob CaseyRobert (Bob) Patrick CaseyDem senator: Inaction on gun control sending 'unintentional endorsement' Congress has a chance to make saving for college a lot easier Sen. Manchin won’t vote for Trump’s mine safety nominee MORE (Pa.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownDems plan to make gun control an issue in Nevada Mandel leads GOP primary for Ohio Senate seat: internal poll Red-state Dems need more from Trump before tax embrace MORE (Ohio.), are cosponsors of the clean coal bill.  

That bill had little chance of moving while Reid was in charge. He once declared with typical bluntness “it doesn’t exist… there is no such thing as clean-coal technology.”

Democrats in tough races have been quick to call for putting the bad blood of the election behind them and focus on delivering results for constituents. 

“Working across the aisle with her Republican colleagues to forge compromise and advance bipartisan ideas is exactly what Claire’s done since she joined the Senate—regardless of which party holds the White House or who’s in charge of Congress—and it’s exactly what she’ll keep doing,” said John LaBombard, a spokesman for Sen. Claire McCaskillClaire Conner McCaskillKoch-backed group targets red-state Dems on tax reform Overnight Cybersecurity: Equifax security employee left after breach | Lawmakers float bill to reform warrantless surveillance | Intel leaders keeping collusion probe open Las Vegas highlights Islamist terrorism is not America's greatest domestic threat MORE (D-Mo.), who is expected to run for re-election in a state that Trump won with 57 percent of the vote.  

Tax reform is one area where Republicans could see cooperation from Democrats.

Jim Kessler, a former aide to Schumer who now serves as senior vice president for policy at Third Way, a centrist Democratic think tank, says “it’s possible” that Senate Democrats help Republicans pass a tax reform package. 

“I think the key words are revenue neutral,” he said. “Particularly if you’re looking at the business side. If it includes provisions to help businesses grow and stay here and employ here, there’s always been appetite among Democrats to do that.” 

Twelve Senate Democrats bucked their leadership in 2001 to vote for the first round of then President George W. Bush’s tax cuts. Of the defectors, only Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinGun proposal picks up GOP support Gingrich: Banning rapid fire gun modification is ‘common sense’ House bill set to reignite debate on warrantless surveillance MORE (Calif.) is still in the Senate. 

“There could be a number of vulnerable Democratic senators who are up in 2018 that are going to be looking over their shoulders and thinking this is going to be pretty popular,” said Bill Hoagland, senior vice president at the Bipartisan Policy Center, said of tax reform. 

Repealing and replacing ObamaCare is a tougher subject, Democrats say, because of lingering bad feelings over Republicans’ refusal in recent years to move any legislation to improve President Obama’s signature legislative issue.

“I’m not sure that Democrats are going to rescue Republicans from the train they’re about to throw themselves in front of. There’s a fair amount of bitterness that Republicans were not reasonable players in the [Affordable Care Act] discussion,” said Kessler.

Democratic strategists predict Republicans will pay a political price if they repeal ObamaCare, throwing as many as 20 million people off insurance plans, and fail to pass new reforms to soften the blow. 

“The politics of healthcare have flipped,” said the senior Democratic aide. 

Another issue with new momentum is authorization to build the Keystone XL pipeline, which the Obama administration shut down.

Ten Democrats voted last year to approve the Keystone pipeline. Six of them are running for re-election in states that Trump won: McCaskill, Manchin, Donnelly, Heitkamp, Tester and Casey.