Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin slammed both political parties Friday for their efforts to repeal Obamacare without a replacement program — accusing them of "wanting to play politics."
"The Republican side is saying that we have to repeal because it's a political promise they made," the two-term West Virginian told Jake Tapper on CNN.
"If my side, the Democrats, are saying from President [Barack] Obama down, make them own it, don't fix anything — what happens for us?
"Our purpose of being in Washington is to basically serve the American people," Manchin said.
The House voted 227-198 Friday to adopt a budget resolution that would allow Republicans to push a repeal bill through the Senate without having to face a filibuster by Democrats.
The vote allows the 52-48 GOP Senate majority to bypass the chamber's usual 60-vote threshold to advance an Obamacare repeal bill, requiring only a simple majority.
The Senate narrowly adopted the budget resolution on a 51-48 vote early Thursday morning.
House Republicans have voted more than 60 times to repeal the Affordable Care Act, President Barack Obama's signature domestic legislative achievement.
"I just don't understand where they're coming from," Manchin told Tapper of his congressional colleagues. "Basically, you cannot go back to what we've had before, which was nothing.
"You are one illness away from catastrophic death. One illness. So, that can't happen.
"We have a plan that's in place," the senator added. "Whether you like it or not.
"Can it be repaired? Absolutely."
Manchin said he appreciated President-elect Donald Trump telling Congress that "'I'm not going to let you throw the baby out with the bath water until you let me see something different.'"
He said he wanted to make Obamacare premiums more affordable, as well as initiate buying insurance across state lines and medical savings accounts.
"All of these things could work to a certain extent, but you can't do it if no one is sitting at the table," Manchin told Tapper. "You can't do it by trying to keep a political promise intact — and no matter heck or high water throw it out and say, 'Hey, we have to fulfill this promise.'
"Let's make sure we do it right if we're going to fix it."
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