May 02, 2011

Manchin brings 'Commonsense Solutions' to Grafton | The Grafton Mountain Statesman

United States senator for West Virginia, Joe Manchin, III, stopped by Jerry’s Restaurant Saturday morning to have coffee and talk about common sense.

Early Saturday morning, United States Senator Joe Manchin, III, made his way to Jerry’s restaurant to have coffee and discuss common sense.

The visit to Grafton wraps up Manchin’s “Commonsense Solutions Week” Tour. Manchin visited nine counties, and traveled nearly 1,500 miles, to unveil common sense measures aimed at repairing the nation’s most serious challenges.

The main dinning room was filled with interested residents, and after speaking briefly of his current initiatives, Manchin opened up the floor for questions and dialogue.

“I’m pleased to have everyone here,” Manchin stated. “This is where it all started for me back in 1982.”

Manchin explained that after five months in Washington, he is doing these tours to connect with the people of West Virginia, to see what issues West Virginian’s want him to focus on.

He suggested as talking points, war, education, health care, and the financial state of the United States of America.

By providing a show of hands, the audience indicated that getting the United States’ financial house in order is one of the biggest concerns.

Manchin spoke of the United States going into nation building and occupation, explaining that the United States is spending $45 to $60 billion a year in aide to other countries.

He explained that the rise in our national debt has been from $4 trillion in 1992, to 14.3 trillion today. Manchin explained that he is working with a bipartisan movement to help get expenditures and debt under control.

“We have to change this tax code,” Manchin stated. “So that people are all paying their fare share.”

In speaking of bringing expenditures under control, Manchin stated, “There will be some adjustments to programs. We are looking for reasonable solutions without disrupting people’s lives.”

Manchin was questioned about his support of the Corker-McCaskill CAP Act to cap federal spending. Audience members alluded to the possibilities of major cuts to Medicare and Social Security if this Act should pass. Manchin disagreed with the argument, stating that the cuts can be found elsewhere, such as defense or foreign aid.

In a statement made at a previous Commonsense Solutions event, Manchin stated, “Left unchecked, our exploding national debt will paralyze this nation. It will cost us countless jobs. It will strangle our ability to invest in vital priorities like energy, our children and our communities. It will weaken our national defense and it will derail critical programs like Social Security and Medicare,” Senator Manchin said. “I believe that both the CAP Act and Balanced Budget Amendment offer a good framework for a bipartisan debt fix, but let me be clear that one of my top priorities will be to make sure that any debt fix keeps our promises to seniors and protects Social Security and Medicare.”

On health care, Manchin stated, “I will not vote to repeal the Healthcare Bill, but, I will work like the dickens to fix it. There are some good things in this Bill.”

The talked turned to the Marcellus shale gas exploration in West Virginia, and how some companies are allegedly exploiting the state, and its people, in capitalizing on what could be a game changer for West Virginia in the very near future.

Manchin spoke about a representative from Halliburton, who, when asked to reveal the chemical contents of the water they use in hydraulic fracturing, stated that he could not reveal the trade secrets.

Manchin stated that he informed the representative, “If we can’t control it, you can’t drill.”

Manchin further stated, “Marcellus could be a game changer in West Virginia, if, it is done right.”

When speaking about the rise in gasoline prices, reaching $4 per gallon at the stage, Manchin stated, “I can’t believe there is not much ‘hell raising’ going on over $4 per gallon. They got us conditioned, don’t they? We don’t have a supply problem, we’ve got a greed problem.”

Manchin spoke briefly about “The Job Score Act.” The government already requires that bills be “scored” for the amount of money that each will cost.

Senator Manchin’s commonsense legislation would simply require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine the number of jobs that would be created, protected, or lost should a specific piece of legislation become law – so lawmakers can take jobs into account as their top priority. This bill will make debates about jobs more transparent and concrete, giving lawmakers a solid basis of information for decision-making.

One of the final comments taken by Manchin for the morning was from Fred Martin, the owner of Grafton Kentucky Fried Chicken, who stated “We are not going to change anything in this state until we educate our people.”

Manchin replied, “That says it all. If you have an educated work force, companies will come, and stay.” 

Manchin concluded by saying, “Everybody in Washington can do better, it’s always about the next election, not the next generation, that’s got to change.”


By:  Matthew Trout