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 faces high stakes in meeting with Erdoğan amid impeachment drama Democrats worry they don't have right candidate to beat Trump Trump threatening to fire Mulvaney: report MORE and Republican colleagues. 

North Dakota Sen. Heidi HeitkampMary (Heidi) Kathryn HeitkampThe Hill's Morning Report — Biden steadies in third debate as top tier remains the same Trump wins 60 percent approval in rural areas of key states Pence to push new NAFTA deal in visit to Iowa 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 DonnellyWatchdog accuses pro-Kavanaugh group of sending illegal robotexts in 2018 Lobbying world Trump nominees meet fiercest opposition from Warren, Sanders, Gillibrand 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: Protests at Trump's NYC Veterans Day speech | House Dems release Pentagon official's deposition transcript | Lawmakers ask Trump to rescind Erdogan invite Overnight Defense: Top diplomat changes testimony to indicate quid pro quo | Dem offers measure on Turkish human rights abuses in Syria | Warren offers plan to address veteran suicide rates Manchin says he wouldn't back Sanders against Trump in presidential race 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 ReidBottom Line Lobbying world Democrats aim to protect Grand Canyon from 'imminent' drilling threat MORE (Nev.) didn’t want Democrats to work with vulnerable Republicans ahead of the 2016 elections, his heir apparent Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerDivided Supreme Court leans toward allowing Trump to end DACA Ilhan Omar blasts Pete King as an 'Islamophobe' after he announces retirement: 'Good riddance' Top Senate Dem: Officials timed immigration policy around 2020 election 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) ManchinFormer coal exec Don Blankenship launches third-party presidential bid Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Overnight Energy: Senate eyes nixing 'forever chemicals' fix from defense bill | Former Obama EPA chief named CEO of green group | Senate reviews Interior, FERC nominees criticized on ethics 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 CaseyNew ObamaCare enrollment period faces Trump headwinds Scrap House defense authorization provision benefitting Russia Here are the Senate Democrats backing a Trump impeachment inquiry over Ukraine call MORE (Pa.) and Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownSunday shows — New impeachment phase dominates Brown confirms he won't enter 2020 race: 'I think it's a good field' GM officially sells Ohio plant, months after Trump touted sale 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 McCaskillGOP senator rips into Pelosi at Trump rally: 'It must suck to be that dumb' Iranian attacks expose vulnerability of campaign email accounts Ex-CIA chief worries campaigns falling short on cybersecurity 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 FeinsteinHarris shares video addressing staffers the night Trump was elected: 'This is some s---' Centrist Democrats seize on state election wins to rail against Warren's agenda Senate talks on stalled Violence Against Women Act reauthorization unravel 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.