Democrats may have just lost one of their own in the high-stakes fight over ObamaCare -- or maybe not.
Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., a moderate Democrat known at times to buck his party, said Thursday that he'd be willing to support a spending bill that also delays the law's requirement on individuals to buy health insurance.
"There's no way I could not vote for it," Manchin said. "It's very reasonable and sensible."
Manchin made the comment at a Bloomberg Government breakfast. The comment, first reported by Bloomberg, was later confirmed by Fox News.
But hours later, the senator put out a statement clarifying his remarks. He said that while he opposes the individual mandate, "I do not believe that this issue should be used to shut down the government, and I will not vote to shut down the government. We need to work together as Americans to solve these problems so we can get our economy back on track and create American jobs."
The Senate is currently considering a bill that would fund the government past Sept. 30 while also defunding ObamaCare. Democrats are trying to strip the ObamaCare provision, but first need to round up 60 senators to advance the bill in a vote likely set for Friday.
The bill, as written, does not include any provision to delay the health law -- which is what Manchin commented on Thursday. But the possibility of a proposed delay has been discussed, either in this bill or a separate GOP-authored measure that would also raise the debt ceiling.
Manchin's clarification indicates that while he supports a delay, he might not support one in the context of a spending bill.