November 21, 2011

Manchin: Failure 'Not an Option' | The State Journal

In wake of the Congressional supercommittee's Nov. 20 announcement it would fail to propose budget cuts by its self-imposed deadline, Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., took to national TV to air his frustrations.

"Failure cannot be accepted. We can't fail. We can't allow anybody to fail," he said on CBS's Face the Nation Nov. 20. "I don't' want to be part of a generation that turned over the keys to the next generation with the country in worse shape. That's never happened before, and I'm not going to stand still for that."

The supercommittee rose from the summer deficit crisis. The bicameral, bipartisan committee was charged with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction by cutting funding to federal programs or agencies. However, that committee has failed to come to any agreement on which, if any, programs or agencies should see funding cuts. Its self-imposed deadline is Nov. 23.

But Manchin, a freshman senator, doesn't think the committee should give up that easily. He said if the committee can't come up with a plan, he and 139 other members of Congress should be allowed to step forward with their Bowles-Simpson plan, which proposes $4 trillion in savings. If nothing is done, "leadership at all levels is not working," Manchin said.

"I'm frustrated. I am very frustrated," he said. "And they've said our approval rating is 9 percent. I said we are still trying to find the 9 percent who think we are doing a good job."

Manchin wrote to President Barack Obama to further express his frustration and encourage him to consider the Bowles-Simpson proposal.

"If the supercommittee fails — and I believe it must not — other action must be taken," Manchin said in the letter dated Nov. 21. "We face the potential for future credit rating downgrades, increased market uncertainty, an unacceptably high unemployment rate and, more importantly, the loss of even more confidence by the American people that their elected representatives can work together fro the good of this great nation. We can and must do better than that."

The Bowles-Simpson framework is a bipartisan effort supported in both houses of Congress that provides pro-growth tax reform and long-term entitlement reform while cutting the $15 trillion national debt. It also proposes changes to Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, discretionary spending and defense spending.

By:  Whitney Burdette