WASHINGTON, D.C. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin says one of his big issues in the upcoming confirmation process of a Supreme Court nominee will include hearing where the nominee stands on the Affordable Care Act.

U.S. Congress

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

Manchin talked about his Thursday evening meeting at the White House with President Donald Trump during an appearance Friday on MetroNews “Talkline.”

“I’m looking for somebody that’s centrist,” Manchin said Friday. “I look for someone who doesn’t wear their own politics on their sleeves being a jurist. It has to be somebody above approach.”

Manchin said he told Trump he would respectfully accept his nominee and sit down and talk with them. He didn’t guarantee how he would vote.

Trump met with Manchin along with Sens. Chuck Grassley of Iowa, Susan Collins of Maine, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota about the pending nomination. Thirty-year Justice Anthony Kennedy handed in retirement letter to Trump earlier this week.

Manchin indicated during his “Talkline” appearance that where a nominee stands on the Affordable Care Act would be more of a litmus test than where they stand on the abortion issue.

“I’m pro-life but I know how that divides our country immediately and divides everyone, they’re split right down the middle on that,” Manchin said. “If he picks someone who is hardcore on Roe v. Wade or hardcore on repealing health care that’s a bigger lift.”

Manchin said he wants the Affordable Care Act fixed not overthrown.

Manchin’s comments on the Roe v. Wade issue brought a quick response from the Senate campaign of state Attorney General Patrick Morrisey.

“If Sen. Joe Manchin is unwilling to support justices who will defend the sanctity of life, West Virginia voters cannot trust Manchin to stand up for life,” Morrisey for Senate spokesperson Nathan Brand said in a news release. “Sen. Manchin’s concern about a pro-life nominee is just the latest reminder that Manchin sides with abortion-provider Planned Parenthood and the radical pro-abortion left.”

Manchin did take time Friday to criticize Morrisey for a lawsuit he’s signed on to that challenges the requirement for insurance companies in the Affordable Care Act to cover those with pre-existing conditions. Manchin said it’s the first thing he spoke with Trump about Thursday evening.

“We (West Virginia) have 800,000 that have already been identified as pre-existing. That means insurance companies can just throw them off like they did before. I told him, ‘Mr. President we need help with this because this is wrong,'” Manchin said.

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