"Miners' health, one of my favorites. The Democrats walked out of the room and said they protected the miners' health, OK? So did the president. The president's [been] asking me since the day I got here for a way to fix the miners' health -- health issue problems that they have in Appalachia."And we were simply waiting for the opportunity to give it as part of a bipartisan discussion so that we could get something in return."
About a week ago, when the White House was talking up the possibility of a government shutdown, Donald Trump argued on Twitter, "I want to help our miners while the Democrats are blocking their healthcare."Whether the president was lying or ignorant was unclear, but either way, the claim was largely the opposite of the truth. Congressional Democrats were the ones fighting for a permanent fix to the retired miners' trouble with health care coverage, but they faced Republican resistance.On this, Democrats prevailed. As part of the spending bill that's set to become law this week, Dems, led in large part on this issue by Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), successfully included the sought-after protections and 22,600 retired miners will no longer have to worry about losing coverage. At the White House yesterday, however, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney voiced his annoyance with the idea that Democrats are boasting about their success.
Wait, what was that last part?To hear Mulvaney tell it, Democrats and Trump were on the same page in terms of the end goal -- which is exactly the opposite of what the president himself said on Twitter six days ago -- but the difference was that the White House wanted to use miners' health as a bargaining chip.The White House supported the benefits, but Team Trump also wanted to "get something in return."Good to know.