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Manchin pushes back against state GOP allegations

The West Virginia Republican Party accused U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va. of ducking a vote on funding for the federal health care plan widely known as Obamacare earlier in the week.

The senator wasted little time in responding to the attack, saying he missed the vote because he was at a family funeral.

The West Virginia Republican Party sent a news release Thursday criticizing Manchin for "refusing to vote" on a piece of legislation proposed by U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, that would defund the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

The release accuses Manchin for voting "present" instead of not taking a side on the vote.

"It's never a big surprise to see Senator Manchin playing both sides of an issue," West Virginia Republican Party Chairman Conrad Lucas said in the release.

"But given a choice between the Obamacare bill that will destroy family budgets and kill jobs, and trying to keep our health care freedoms ... Manchin can't choose either one. That's the opposite of leadership. It's failure to act," he continued.

The state GOP are "political hacks" and liars, according to a statement Manchin issued Thursday afternoon. The senator said he didn't vote on the measure because he was attending a family funeral and visiting his sick mother.

"Today's lie by the West Virginia Republican Party about my missed vote to attend my cousin's funeral and visit my ill mother represents the most disgusting part of politics and a perfect example of why reaching bipartisanship and commonsense solutions to the problems our state and nation face have become so difficult," Manchin said in the emailed statement.

"The West Virginia Republican Party would be wise to check their facts next time before they lie about my record and lie to the people of West Virginia," he continued.

Manchin voted against similar measures twice in the past, said communication director Jonathon Kott.

The Manchin and West Virginia GOP statements incited barbs from both parties on social media. The state GOP and Young Republicans used Twitter to attack Manchin, and the senator and state party responded.

See the tweets

After Manchin issued his release, the West Virginia Democratic Party asked via Twitter when Lucas was going to apologize to the senator.

Shortly before 4 pm the state Republican Party replied. In a news release, the party said the senator voted on other issues the same day as this vote.

"We owe Senator Manchin and his family every courtesy and our prayers in their times of need or tragedy," Lucas said.

"But we also owe it to the taxpayers and the owners of the state to make sure he casts every vote on important issues and makes clear his stance on the liberal Obamacare. The Senator has made a habit of waffling on tough issues. Skipping yet another Obamacare vote seems standard in his habitual fence-sitting."

The release then went on to provide a schedule of Manchin's activities, according to the Republican Party. It says he voted on a different measure hours after the aforementioned legislation and "conveniently missed the controversial vote."

The senator attended his cousin's funeral Wednesday morning and immediately drove back to Washington, D.C. after that, Kott said.

Contact writer Dave Boucher at 304-348-4843 or david.boucher@dailymail.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/Dave_Boucher1.


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