October 13, 2011

Manchin: Obama must show leadership | The Elkins Inter-Mountain

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., was one of 49 Senators on Tuesday to vote for a procedural motion that would have allowed President Barrack Obama's jobs package to reach the senate floor. Manchin said he could not oppose a procedural motion that would have given the Senate the opportunity to discuss and make amendments to the bill.

"Unfortunately, the legislative process in Washington has gotten so dysfunctional that it doesn't make much sense at all," Manchin said during a press call with media on Wednesday. "Instead of moving a bill to the floor and proposing amendments to make a bill better and having an intelligent and informed discussion about whether to vote for or against, we are paralyzed by the filibuster and an unwillingness to work together - just because of an election cycle."

The senator voted to end a filibuster on Obama's $447 billion jobs creation bill. The bill died on a 50-49 tally even though it garnered a majority of the Senate, it need 60 votes to stay alive.

Manchin said he was elected to focus on the next generation, not the next election. He said with the nation facing a serious jobs crisis he could not oppose a procedural motion that would have given the Senate the chance to hear discussion about the bill.

"Now, there may be times when a filibuster makes sense, but have we become so divided as a nation that we would choose to filibuster a bill and totally give up the chance to make a jobs bill better or to make our tax system more fair and equitable?" he asked. "That just doesn't make sense. The people of West Virginia sent me here to do what I can to make things better, and I am going to try my best to do just that."

He acknowledged that no piece of legislation will be perfect, but the Senate gave up the choice to start taking the right steps to create jobs and make "the right investments to rebuild America."

"I chose to move forward and work toward making this legislation better," he said. "And as you all know, there are parts of this bill that I think are good, parts that are bad and parts that are really ugly. And I truly believe that if we had an open and healthy debate, we could improve this plan."

Manchin said he would not have voted for final passage of the bill without significant changes to the legislation.

"As I have said to Democratic leadership, Republicans and the president, now is not the time for ultimatums, now is the time to do the job we we're elected to do find common sense compromise," he said. "Looking ahead, we now have no choice Republicans, Democrats and the President must work together. And, I would ask the president, respectfully, to put aside the partisan arrows and stop worrying about who is to blame - let's get to work rebuilding America."

Manchin said he hopes that the Senate will vote on the initiatives he believes will help create jobs and rebuild the nation. Among those he outlined are infrastructure, hiring veterans and modernizing schools among the items voted on.

"And I would want to work to make our tax system more fair so we ensure millionaires pay their fair share," he said. "I believe that in our current system, it's unfair that millionaires pay a lower effective rate than plenty of working Americans. This bill fixes that gap."

Manchin said he would work across the aisle to eliminate parts of the bill that do not create jobs including: extending and broadening a payroll tax cut that takes $240 billion out of Social Security and puts the nation further in debt; and unemployment insurance that does not retrain workers for jobs that exist in the future.

"I would also hope we would consider voting on rolling back unnecessary regulations - such as those proposed by the EPA - that are killing job creation and stifling investment in our nation," he said. "Doing all this just makes sense - and the challenge for this Congress is whether we will put politics aside, work together, and do what is right for the next generation."

He said that is the approach he took while serving as governor in the Mountain State. He said Obama must show leadership.

"If we do this, I strongly believe that we will craft a jobs bill that will not only work, it will help put America back to work."

By:  Anthony Gaynor
Source: Inability to discuss failed jobs bill on floor frustrates senator