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 TrumpTrump rips Dems' demands, impeachment talk: 'Witch Hunt continues!' Nevada Senate passes bill that would give Electoral College votes to winner of national popular vote The Hill's Morning Report - Pelosi remains firm despite new impeachment push MORE and Republican colleagues. 

North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampOn The Money: Stocks sink on Trump tariff threat | GOP caught off guard by new trade turmoil | Federal deficit grew 38 percent this fiscal year | Banks avoid taking position in Trump, Dem subpoena fight Fight over Trump's new NAFTA hits key stretch Former senators launching effort to help Dems win rural votes 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 DonnellyObama honors 'American statesman' Richard Lugar Former GOP senator Richard Lugar dies at 87 Ralph Reed: Biden is a 'formidable and strong candidate' 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 Defense: Trump officials say efforts to deter Iran are working | Trump taps new Air Force secretary | House panel passes defense bill that limits border wall funds GOP angst grows amid Trump trade war Overnight Defense — Presented by Huntington Ingalls Industries — Pentagon approves transfer of .5B to border wall | Dems blast move | House Dem pushes Pelosi to sue over Trump's Yemen veto 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 Mason ReidLobbying World Mitch McConnell is not invincible Seven big decisions facing Biden in 2020 primary MORE (Nev.) didn’t want Democrats to work with vulnerable Republicans ahead of the 2016 elections, his heir apparent Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerSchumer wants investigation into Chinese-designed New York subway cars Getting serious about infrastructure Schumer calls on McConnell to hold vote on Equality Act 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) ManchinSenate panel approves Interior nominee over objections from Democrats Labor head warns of 'frightening uptick' in black lung disease among miners Labor leader: Trump has stopped erosion of coal jobs 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 CaseyWhy Congress needs to bring back tax deduction for worker expenses Biden cements spot as 2020 front-runner The Hill's Morning Report - Biden's bid gets under Trump's skin MORE (Pa.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Judge upholds House subpoena for Trump financial records | Trump vows to appeal ruling by 'Obama-appointed judge' | Canada, Mexico lift retaliatory tariffs on US | IRS audit rate falls Lawmakers grapple with the future of America's workforce The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Pass USMCA Coalition - Restrictive state abortion laws ignite fiery 2020 debate 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 McCaskillLobbying world Big Dem names show little interest in Senate Gillibrand, Grassley reintroduce campus sexual assault bill 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 FeinsteinThis week: Democrats, White House set for infrastructure, budget talks Senate confirms Rosen for No. 2 spot at DOJ Senate confirms controversial 9th Circuit pick without blue slips 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.