Jenkins defends Capito on “very difficult, challenging” health care issue

WASHINGTON, D.C. — West Virginia 3rd District Congressman Evan Jenkins (R-W.Va.) is refusing to join the critics of U.S. Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-W.Va.) for her opposition to the health care repeal and replacement proposals being floated in the U.S. Senate so far.

U.S. Rep. Evan Jenkins, (R-W.Va.)

“She always has put the best interests of the people of West Virginia first,” said Jenkins, a candidate for U.S. Senate in 2018, on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

The U.S. Senate was expected to vote as early as next Tuesday on whether to move forward with debate on the health care bill which has floundered this week.

Capito has opposed recent versions of Senate replacements for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, along with a proposal to repeal portions of the health care law, effective in two years, without a designated replacement.

The latest Senate proposal scaled back federal insurance regulations, cut funding for traditional Medicaid and phased out the Medicaid expansion.

“I’m doing what I think is right and responsible and I’m going to continue to do that,” Capito said on Thursday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

Capito’s stand against repeal alone is a reversal of a Dec. 2015 vote she cast under President Barack Obama for ACA repeal without replacement when a veto was certain.

A new website from the Club For Growth,, labeled Capito, U.S. Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio) as “traitors” for not supporting repeal after previously doing so.

Both West Virginians For Life and the Family Policy Council of West Virginia criticized Capito in statements this week.

“You will not hear me criticizing Senator Capito for the due diligence with which she is approaching this very difficult, challenging issue,” Jenkins told Hoppy Kercheval.

To him, there’s no doubt “the system is broken.” “I’ve cast a vote to fix it and I am committed to saving health care,” he said.

In May, Jenkins called his vote for the U.S. House health care plan “a tough call.”

“Is this the perfect solution?” No,” he said at that time. “It goes to the Senate. Work will continue. Doing nothing wasn’t an option.”

The American Health Care Act was approved 217-213 in the U.S. House with support from Jenkins, 1st District Congressman David McKinley (R-W.Va.) and 2nd District Congressman Alex Mooney (R-W.Va.).

“I am on the board having cast a vote to try to save our health care system, to fix Obamacare, to repeal, replace, reform, however you want to characterize it,” Jenkins said Friday.

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