September 16, 2011

Manchin Pushes for More Deficit Reduction | The State Journal

Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., joined with 36 other senators to urge the Congressional super committee to “think big” when it comes to reducing America’s deficit problem. 

The super committee was established as part of a deal reached in the early part of August to look at and reduce the nation’s deficit. The bipartisan, bicameral committee includes 12 members and is tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in budget savings over the next 10 years, in addition to the nearly $1 trillion in savings identified in debt ceiling legislation. 

Manchin said Sept. 16 that people in Congress know and understand that the deficit has gotten out of hand. He said they agree that now is the time to “face those challenges.” 

However, President Barack Obama on Sept. 8 delivered a speech before a joint session of Congress about the jobs crisis. The American Jobs Act proposes tax cuts and extensions that could put millions of people back to work but carries a hefty $450 billion price tag — a price Manchin said he is not comfortable paying. 

“If spending money would solve our problems in America, we wouldn’t have a problem right now because we’ve done our fair share of spending over the past few years,” Manchin said. He said he would review the entire legislation before deciding his final stance, but as of right now he has “serious reservations.” 

“When I saw the total breakdown, I’m even more skeptical now and my reservations have increased more,” he said. 

Besides cost, Manchin said he is concerned about unemployment compensation. He said that alone contributes $50 billion to the overall price. If that much money is spent on one program, Manchin said it needs to be invested appropriately. 

“If we’re going to continue unemployment compensation, it should be done in the most compassionate way to ensure we’re training for the jobs in West Virginia,” Manchin said. “Compassion and retraining has to be the highlight of what we’re doing if we keep up unemployment compensation.” 

However, Manchin said he does like that the American Jobs Act proposes a fairer tax systems that could benefit all taxpayers. 

“When you have companies such as (General Electric) paying nothing to this country, when you have Warren Buffet saying he pays a lesser percentage than his secretary does, we need to make adjustments,” Manchin said. 

The plan also includes an infrastructure bank that Manchin said would be a “good investment.” Manchin said the team of 37 senators shows that Congress is ready to come together and address the jobs and debt crises. He said the team is prepared to support and encourage the super committee members “to do the job that needs to be done for this country.” 

“When you have 37 senators split down the middle in a bipartisan effort, that’s pretty darn serious,” he said. 

By:  Whitney Burdette