WHITE SULPHUR SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence traveled to West Virginia Wednesday to tout the impact of tax cuts and pick a fight with the state's Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin, who voted against the plan.
Manchin, who faces a tough re-election fight this year, pushed back forcefully, saying Pence's comments "are exactly why Washington Sucks."
In a visit to a truck dealership in West Virginia, Pence praised Republican Rep. Evan Jenkins, who attended the speech, for voting for the tax bill. Jenkins is running for Manchin's seat.
"People of the Mountain State, you deserve to know, when it came to cutting your taxes, Joe voted no," Pence told employees of Worldwide Equipment Inc. "Joe voted no to giving working families more of your hard-earned money. Joe voted no on tax cuts for job creators."
"But it's not just the tax cuts. Sen. Joe Manchin has voted no time and again on the policies that West Virginia needs," Pence added. He cited the Democrat's votes against defunding Planned Parenthood and repealing former President Barack Obama's health care overhaul, as well as his stated opposition to building a wall along the border with Mexico.
"Folks, Joe is just going to keep voting against West Virginia," Pence said. "But West Virginia needs to let him know."
Manchin responded in a statement saying, "The Vice President's comments are exactly why Washington Sucks."
"I am shocked that after the Vice President worked for almost a year in a divisive and partisan way to take healthcare away from almost 200,000 West Virginians, bankrupt our hospitals, and push tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and huge corporations that he would come to West Virginia and continue his partisan attacks," Manchin said. He noted that President Donald Trump called for "unity and bipartisanship" in his State of the Union speech Tuesday.
Pence, speaking from a podium in a garage at Worldwide Equipment, said cuts in taxes and federal regulations prompted CEO Terry Dotson to give bonuses to all the company's 1,100 employees and move ahead with plans for a new dealership in Charleston, South Carolina.
The $300 bonuses were paid in December when the tax bill was signed, Dotson said. The biggest benefit in the bill was the cut in the corporate income tax rate, he said, which went from 35 to 21 percent.