August 31, 2012

Manchin announces summit | The Martinsburg Journal

WASHINGTON - With the national debt now approaching $16 trillion, Sen. Joe Manchin has made finding a solution to the nation's finance issue a main concern. Manchin, D-W.Va., has announced plans for a financial summit to be held in Charleston on Sept. 10.

Entitled "Our Finances & Our Future: A Bipartisan Conversation About the Facts," the summit is set to discuss the nation's debt. Former Sen. Alan Simpson, R-Wyo., and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles will be featured speakers at the event.

The senators and Bowles said the summit would attempt to tackle difficult issues in regard to budget cuts, an earlier report said.

"The solutions are painful. We simply as a nation made promises we can't keep," Bowles said.

Manchin said the financial viability of programs like Social Security and Medicare will be discussed.

"As it stands today, Medicare will be insolvent starting in 2024, just 12 years away," Manchin said. "Starting in 2033, Social Security will be able to pay out only 75 percent of its promised benefits."

Manchin also pinpointed infrastructure as a way for the nation and West Virginia - the Eastern Panhandle in particular - to create jobs. The most essential projects, he said, are wastewater treatment plants, road and bridge improvements and expanding the capacity for traffic to hospitals and convention centers.

"The Eastern Panhandle is no exception - as one of the fastest-growing regions of our state, it has significant infrastructure needs," he said. "I believe that if we prioritize projects that strengthen our communities and create jobs, we'll have a stronger economy in the long run."

While Manchin believes there are key solutions to the nation's debt, he was realistic about its current state.

"Our debt and spending are simply unsustainable, and we have to make hard choices now to get our fiscal house in order," he said.

"While the Bowles-Simpson approach isn't perfect, it gives us a blueprint for a path forward to truly fixing our problems, making our system more fair and keeping these key social safety nets strong for generations to come."

Manchin said he sees the financial summit's location in West Virginia as an opportunity for residents to learn and collaborate on solutions for the nation's financial situation.

"I want to give the citizens of our great state the opportunity to see the facts for themselves, discuss them with leading experts and help find common-sense solutions so we can make sure these programs are still around for our children," he said.

The senator said he invites everyone to join the discussion at "Our Finances & Our Future: A Bipartisan Conversation About the Facts," which will be held at the Cultural Center in Charleston on Sept. 10.

By:  Rachel Molenda
Source: Meeting to be held in Charleston Sept. 10, address financial issues