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Image: Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on May 5, 2022 in Washington, DC.
Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chairman Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., on May 5, 2022 in Washington, DC.Win McNamee / Getty Images

AARP launches ads in W. Va. urging Manchin to support reconciliation bill

Campaign to pressure the centrist Democrat comes at a crucial time.


AARP, the advocacy group for Americans over fifty, is launching new cable and broadcast TV ads in West Virginia urging centrist Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W. Va., to support a budget reconciliation bill that includes a major prescription drug savings policy.

The new TV ad, first reported by NBC News, is slated to run in West Virginia starting this Wednesday through at least July 5. An AARP spokesperson said it is part of a multi-million-dollar ad campaign that will include radio and print ads.

“Everybody knows Joe Manchin cares about West Virginians. And he knows too many of us are struggling to pay for our medicine. That’s why he supports letting Medicare negotiate lower drug prices,” says a narrator in the ad, which ends with: “Joe Manchin, keep fighting to lower drug prices.”

It focuses on a priority of AARP’s: allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices, which Manchin has publicly endorsed. And it comes at a crucial stretch: In recent weeks, the senator has held private negotiations with Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., about a bill that can bypass Republicans, who oppose the idea of allowing Medicare to negotiate drug prices.

“We know we have the votes to pass Medicare negotiation through reconciliation, and we are committed to pushing back whenever PhRMA and their allies try to mislead the public and block Congress from lowering prescription drug prices,” said Nancy LeaMond, the chief advocacy officer for AARP.

Manchin has said he would be open to a package that includes drug savings, energy investments and tax hikes on high earners and corporations.

The recent Manchin-Schumer negotiations have been tight-lipped and the West Virginia Democrat, who scuttled the House-passed Build Back Better Act, is facing conflicting pressures on striking a narrower reconciliation deal over tax and spending policy that can bypass the filibuster. The new AARP ad campaign is designed to push back on drug industry opposition to the savings policy and aims to give Manchin political cover to support the bill.