Sen. Manchin pans Obama's 'unilateral' action on guns
© Greg Nash

Sen. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinFive hurdles Democrats face to pass an infrastructure bill Nixed Interior nominee appointed to different department role  Against mounting odds, Biden seeks GOP support for infrastructure plan MORE (D-W.Va.) chastised President Obama on Tuesday for using executive action to expand the use of background checks for gun sales. 

“Instead of taking unilateral executive action, the President should work with Congress and the American people, just as I’ve always done, to pass the proposals he announced today," Manchin said in a statement, adding that "legislation and consensus is the correct approach."  
 
ADVERTISEMENT
Obama on Tuesday announced new executive actions intened to combat gun violence, including requiring a background check for firearms sold over the Internet or at gun shows. 
 
In his remarks, Obama highlighted a 2013 proposal from Manchin and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) that would have expanded background checks during his Tuesday speech, but both senators have distanced themselves from his latest move.
 
Earlier Tuesday Toomey, who faces a tough reelection bid in November, suggested that while he still needed more information on the background check action, the president has previously used executive power to "exceeded the boundaries of the law."
 
Manchin and Toomey's 2013 proposal failed to overcome a procedural hurdle when a handful of red-state Democrats and most Republicans voted against it. A similar effort from the two senators last month was also unsuccessful with only four Republicans, including Toomey, voting for it. 
 
Manchin touted his legislation on Tuesday, calling it a "commonsense background check bill that protected the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding gun owners, while also ensuring criminals and those adjudicated mentally insane were unable to purchase guns."
 
The West Virginia senator is one of a handful of red-state Democrats up for reelection in 2018. He announced last year that he plans to seek another term after speculation that he could try to run for governor. 
 
Manchin isn't the first Democrat to question the president's decision. Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampBill Maher blasts removal of journalist at Teen Vogue Centrist Democrats pose major problem for progressives Harrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment MORE (D-N.D.), who is also up for reelection in 2018, said that she has "some serious concerns about the president over-stepping his authority to implement some of these proposals."
 
While Heitkamp previously voted against the Manchin-Toomey proposal, she noted that the president's initiative does include some ideas that she's previously voted for, including increased support for mental health care and improving the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS).