September 24, 2011

Manchin calls for bipartisan approach | The Elkins Inter-Mountain

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., took to the Senate floor on Friday calling for a bipartisan approach to deficit reduction, and said President Barack Obama's recommendations fall short of what the nation needs.

Manchin asked all members of Congress to keep their summer agreement on spending while larger deficit reductions are being negotiated.

"As we face our exploding debts and deficits, our nation is truly at a crossroads," Manchin said.

The senator said a loss of confidence by the American people comes from an economy that has struggled for too long, watching debt and deficits explode, and from watching Republicans and Democrats engage in partisan fights.

"The American people worry about how to get their families out of debt and their financial house in order," Manchin said. "They worry about finding or keeping a job. They worry about how they're going to pay the rent, how they're going to take care of their children."

He said both Republicans and Democrats are gearing up to fight about politics instead of coming together and doing what is right for the country.

"Today we yet again find ourselves on the brink, and I can't explain why to the American people," Manchin said. "This summer, they watched us go through this exercise. The Senate, the House and the President agreed to spending cuts to keep the government working. Where I come from, Mr. President, you word is your bond. It shouldn't be changed midstream."

He said while Congress is arguing to keep the government running, West Virginia residents and the rest of the American people are demanding that partisan differences be put aside in the best interest of the country.

"They are pleading for us to quit fighting and worrying about the next election, and start worrying about the next generation," he said. "With our nation facing a death spiral of debt, now is the time that each of us should be zeroing in on credible, common sense solutions that have truly bipartisan support."

The senator said that after reviewing Obama's recommendations to the "super committee," he finds those ideas to fall short of what the nation needs to put its fiscal house in order.

"President Obama's deficit reduction recommendation not only falls short of his stated $4.4 trillion goal, but could - according to an analysis done by the Center for a Responsible Federal Budget - have the perverse effect of adding as much as $1.9 trillion to our nation's deficit," he said.

Manchin also voiced concern about some of the recommendations in the plan including raising tax rates on small businesses and "budget gimmicks" such as the notion that taxpayers will save money from not fighting wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

"That is not to say that the president's proposal is all bad," he said. "There's some good stuff in there. I have long said that our tax system needs to be more fair and balanced, and that billionaires like Mr. Buffet should pay their fair share. I appreciate the concept of the Buffet Rule and look forward to seeing more details."

Manchin said Obama's proposals are too skewed to appeal to both sides of the aisle.

"If we are serious about addressing our debt and deficits, neither Republicans nor Democrats can propose partisan proposals and then pretend they are credible," he said.

He said that during his tenure in Congress, he has seen one plan that earned support from members of both parties.

"In fact, the president's own bipartisan deficit commission -the Bowles-Simpson group - is the best example of what can be accomplished if we put politics aside," Manchin said. "While no one, including me, will agree with everything in the Bowles-Simpson approach, it at least offered a common sense, bipartisan template that would cut spending, restore tax fairness, and would help restore fiscal sanity to our nation."

He said it was the only plan that has had bipartisan support from the beginning, but there are many people on both sides of the aisle who have are continuing the route that will cause fights.

"For the sake of the nation, for our families, we cannot let this happen," he said. "We must act, and we must act together."

Manchin urged the super committee to look beyond partisan politics and look for reforms that will lead to deficit reductions of at least $4 trillion instead of the mandated $1.5 trillion.

"I, for one, will work with the Senate Democrats and the Republicans who are committed to develop a common sense debt fix that responsibly reduces spending; makes our tax system more fair; cuts waste, fraud, abuse; and makes sure we protect critical programs like Social Security and Medicare."

By:  Anthony Gaynor
Source: Senator says President's plan falls short