July 30, 2011

Manchin Optimistic About Debt Resolution | The Elkins Inter-Mountain

As an "optimist", U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., said he thinks members of Congress will "rally for the sake of America" and compromise regarding the debt ceiling by its looming Tuesday deadline.

Following his Thursday address to the U.S. Senate, Manchin spoke to West Virginia media Friday and explained he has concerns about the two separate proposals - one by House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, and the other by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nevada, - to increase the debt ceiling and the negative effects of a downgrade in the nation's credit rating.

Manchin described Boehner and Reid's plans as a short- and shorter-term fixes to financial problems that could plague future generations if members of Congress do not work together to create a long-term plan. Both proposed solutions to the debt ceiling dilemma will enable senators and House members to get through the 2012 election, a play Manchin says he sees as "political posturing" that "gets nothing done."

"I have said all along I am not going to vote to raise the debt ceiling unless I see a pathway to a long-term fix," Manchin said Friday. "When I asked to be a senator and asked the people to support me, I did so because I wanted to fix things. I wasn't worried about the next election in 2012 or any other election; I was worried about the next generation and how truly we move this country forward."

Although Reid and Boehner's plans are the only two "on the table" that will be able to have legislation, Manchin said he thinks the two will be merged to create a "hybrid" solution.

Manchin, however, says he supports the Simpson Bowles Debt Commission plan because it has been the only suggestion that is bi-partisan.

"We have about 36 or 38 senators, equally split between Democrats and Republicans, that have signed on a truly bi-partisan effort," he commented. "It's the only thing that I have seen since I have been here that's truly bi-partisan."

Credit rating agencies have estimated that $4 trillion in spending needs to be cut in order to get the "financial house in order" and save the U.S. from lower credit rating. Manchin said he knows how difficult it is to raise a credit rating after it has been decreased.

"I don't want to go through that because I think that could have horrible effects on our economy," Manchin commented.

By:  Carra Higgins