A trio of red-state Democrats said after a dinner at the White House that they are hopeful they will be able to work with President Trump and congressional Republicans to reach a deal on tax reform.
Democratic Sens. Joe ManchinJoe ManchinPelosi says House members would not vote on spending bill topline higher than Senate's To reduce poverty, stop burdening the poor: What Joe Manchin gets wrong about the child tax credit Overnight Health Care — Presented by Indivior —Pfizer: COVID-19 vaccine safe for young kids MORE (W.Va.), Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampWashington's oldest contact sport: Lobbyists scrum to dilute or kill Democrats' tax bill Progressives prepare to launch counterattack in tax fight Business groups aim to divide Democrats on .5T spending bill MORE (N.D.) and Joe DonnellyJoseph (Joe) Simon DonnellyRepublicans may regret restricting reproductive rights Sanders traveling to Iowa, Indiana to pitch Biden's spending package Supreme Court battle could wreak havoc with Biden's 2020 agenda MORE (Ind.) — who are each up for reelection next year in states won by Trump — met with the president, Vice President Pence and GOP senators on Tuesday night.
Manchin said after the dinner that the group had a "productive conversation" on how to reform the tax code — one of the GOP's biggest agenda priorities.
"I look forward to working with the President, the Administration and my Senate colleagues on both sides of the aisle on tax reform and going through regular order so we can help all Americans and West Virginians prosper," he said in a statement.
Donnelly added in a separate statement that he is "hopeful" he can work with the president.
Heitkamp, meanwhile, said they had a "good discussion" and it was "encouraging" that the meeting included lawmakers from both parties.
"As I’ve long said I want to work with those on both sides of the aisle on a comprehensive, permanent tax reform plan," she said."I hope these bipartisan discussions continue.”
Republicans are expected to use reconciliation to pass tax reform. The special budget rules will allow a tax bill to pass by a simple majority, sidestepping the need to win over Democratic votes.
But the Trump administration is publicly courting Donnelly, Manchin and Heitkamp as it searches for Democrats who could support the GOP tax effort.
With a slim 52-seat margin Republicans have little room for error if they want to come up with a package that could get the support of at least 50 senators.
If Trump could win over Democratic support, that would give leadership more room to negotiate a deal and allow Republicans to label the agreement as bipartisan.
Manchin, Donnelly and Heitkamp have signaled for months that they are open to negotiating with Republicans to try to get a deal on tax reform. Republicans are hoping to pass a bill by the end of the year.
They didn't join their Democratic colleagues and Senate Minority Leader Charles SchumerChuck SchumerMcConnell signals Senate GOP will oppose combined debt ceiling-funding bill Centrist state lawmaker enters Ohio GOP Senate primary Biden discusses agenda with Schumer, Pelosi ahead of pivotal week MORE (D-N.Y.) on a letter sent to Trump last month outlining Democrats' priorities on tax reform.
Donnelly added on Tuesday night that he and Trump had a "good conversation" on his bill to penalize companies that outsource jobs.
"I am pleased he remains supportive of my proposal," the Indiana senator said.