U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly was part of a bipartisan group of Senators who had a working dinner Tuesday night with President Donald Trump over tax reform.

Donnelly was joined by U.S. Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota.    Also expected to join the group were Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch of Utah. Senators John Thune of SOuth Dakota and  Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania.

Donnelly, Manchin, and Heitkamp declined to sign a letter with their fellow Democrats spelling out their party’s demands concerning tax reform.   Donnelly told POLITICO earlier that he and the President had discussed tax reform over lunch a few months ago, and he wanted to see how tax reform could be used to prevent jobs from going overseas.

After dinner, Donnelly released the following statement to Indy Politics, “I had another good conversation with President Trump about my proposal to address the outsourcing of American jobs. I am pleased he remains supportive of my proposal, and I believe that tax reform should include measures to support companies that invest in our workers and penalize companies that ship American jobs to foreign countries. I am hopeful we can work together to encourage domestic investments that benefit American workers.”

Donnelly introduced the End Outsourcing Act in January,  saying his legislation would support companies that invest in American workers and penalize corporations that outsource jobs. In February, in a meeting at the White House, Donnelly discussed the End Outsourcing Act with President Trump and the President expressed his support for the proposal.  In May, at a Senate Banking Committee hearing, Donnelly asked Treasury Secretary Mnuchin about stopping outsourcing and pushed for the President’s support for policies to protect American workers. Donnelly met with Treasury Secretary Mnuchin in June to discuss the End Outsourcing Act.

Andy Downs of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at IPFW told Indy Politics the move made perfect sense for the incumbent. “It makes sense that Joe Donnelly would agree to a meeting with President Trump for at least two reasons. First, Donnelly has been recognized as one of the most bipartisan senators in the US Senate at this time, and you don’t earn that reputation by refusing to meet with people from the other party,” Downs noted.

“Second, it might be September 2017, but the 2018 election has begun, and Donnelly will have to be able to convince independents and Republicans to vote for him if he wants to win reelection. Accepting an invitation to dinner with President Trump is one of many steps he has taken and will continue to take with that in mind.”

Indiana Congressman and Republican U.S. Senate candidate Todd Rokita was not as generous with his remarks.

“As Joe Donnelly admitted earlier this year, he sides with Washington liberals 9 out of 10 times. Whether it’s the stimulus that sent jobs to China, amnesty for illegals, ObamaCare, the Iran Deal, taxpayer-funded abortion or even gun control, Joe Donnelly is always with Obama, Clinton, Pelosi, and Warren, not Indiana. Now running for re-election, Joe Donnelly’s deception campaign is already in high gear. Donnelly is even claiming Trump voters are his voters. It’s false and embarrassing. Hoosiers beware of Joe Donnelly’s deception,” Rokita said in a statement.

“Todd Rokita will continue working to advance tax reform and supports President Trump and Vice President Pence in their efforts to move tax reform forward. Tax reform will make paychecks go further, and keep jobs and investment in America. Joe Donnelly needs to stand up to the liberal obstructionists in his own party and actually support tax reform, not just use a White House visit to try to fool Hoosiers.”

A survey by the 538 blog shows Donnelly supports Trump’s agenda about 48 percent of the time.