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IN THE NEWS: South Bend Tribune enthusiastically endorses Joe Donnelly for health care stance, bipartisanship

The South Bend Tribune heartily endorsed Joe Donnelly for Senate yesterday, saying that he “backs it up” when it comes to his bipartisan rhetoric on health care, taxes, and even the Supreme Court.

Joe’s opponent has “tried to cast [him] as a hyper-partisan liberal. It’s just not true,” the Tribune writes, noting that Joe has been called one of the Senate’s most bipartisan legislators and worked to oppose the extremes on both sides. On health care, however, “a top issue… this election year,” Joe has stood with Indiana, fighting for the 1.1 million Hoosiers under 65 with pre-existing conditions and working with both parties to improve the system, not dismantle it.

From the South Bend TribuneEDITORIAL: Our Opinion: Joe Donnelly is the choice for U.S. Senate

Politicians love to talk about “bipartisanship.”

They know voters can get weary of endless fights and standoffs that cause gridlock. They vow to “work across the aisle” and “get things done.”

Joe Donnelly doesn’t just talk the talk. He backs it up. The Democrat running for re-election to the U.S. Senate is still the type of politician this country needs in Washington.

Donnelly’s opponent, Mike Braun, and other Republicans have tried to cast Donnelly as a hyper-partisan liberal. It’s just not true. Their attacks, for example, conveniently neglect the fact that Donnelly voted for President Trump’s first pick to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch.

He has also been attacked for voting against last year’s federal tax cuts, but he points out that he pushed for changes that wouldn’t worsen the deficit and would be less generous to corporations and more generous to middle-class taxpayers. The tax bill that passed, he says, “isn’t the one I talked to President Trump about.”

The reality is that Donnelly has repeatedly been cited and lauded as one of the most bipartisan legislators in Washington. He has not demonized President Trump and says he’ll vote for Trump initiatives that he agrees with.

He has also pushed for a bipartisan solution the country’s immigration issues. He has been willing to cut a deal that would include funding for Trump’s border wall.

Sure, part of his middle-of-the-road approach stems from the reality that Donnelly is a Democrat in a red state.

That doesn’t mean he has avoided tough stands on key issues. In fact, when it comes to health care — which has emerged as a top issue, if not the No. 1 issue, this election year — we believe Donnelly has taken the right stand.

He doesn’t advocate sinking the Affordable Care Act and has rightly denounced the “repeal and replace” stunts pushed by Republicans. He acknowledges that the ACA is not perfect and has pushed ideas to shore up its flaws, rather than cry to recklessly dismantle it.

He has also warned about Trump’s tariffs and the impact they’ll have on Indiana farmers and manufacturers.

Braun, like other Republican candidates, has recently pivoted to the issue of health care. The businessman says he wants to protect coverage for people with pre-existing conditions and points to his experience with health insurance plans for employees at his company. But he has had to balance those promises with his support for dismantling the ACA and for a lawsuit by Republican-led states to take down the ACA; he says those stances don’t negate his support for pre-existing coverage.

But in the end, there’s no overwhelming reason for Indiana to vote Donnelly out of office. He understands the issues facing all corners of the state and has actually walked the middle-of-the-road path in Washington. Donnelly represents a style of politics that has become too rare in this country. The Tribune endorses Joe Donnelly for Senate.