September 17, 2011

Manchin Sees 'Ugly' in Obama Jobs Bill | The Wheeling Intelligencer

Sen. Joe Manchin says there's "good, bad and ugly" in the jobs bill proposed by President Barack Obama, and what he sees is mostly ugly.

Manchin, D-W.Va., noted the tremendous cost of the Obama jobs bill - estimated at $450 billion - and the many policies set forth in the bill that already were tried unsuccessfully in the past.

"I listened respectfully to the president give his speech ... on the jobs proposal," Manchin said. "I think we all can agree we need to do something about jobs in this county, but I have some serious reservations about his proposals that night in his speech.

"If spending money would solve our problems and crisis in America, we wouldn't have a problem right now because we sure did our share of spending money in the last few years. It's just common sense to me. If some of the recommendations that are out there hadn't worked in the past, why would we do them over again?" he asked.

Manchin addressed reporters in West Virginia via conference call from Washington, D.C. Friday, and explained he wanted to clarify the "good, the bad and the ugly" of the jobs bill. He cited the $450 billion price tag of the bill as "the ugly," with a doubtful return on investment.

"It includes several policies that we did try," Manchin said. "By all accounts, (the effort) hasn't worked or doesn't seem to be working. If you're going to spend money, you have to spend it on programs you know will work."

Proposed payroll tax cuts and extensions contained in the legislation do "sound good," he continued, but he believes they could have a bad effect. Under the proposal, a previous 2-percent cut is going to be increased to a nearly 3-percent cut for employees, and expanded to employers, Manchin said.

"With that, the total bill is $240 billion - just extending that for another year," he said. "That really cripples and does irreparable damage to Social Security. I'm not sure people realize that.

"On top of that, we've already tried it for one year and it really hasn't helped us. So I would question that (policy). I don't think at this time it is right for us to go in that direction," he said.

Manchin also questioned the $50 billion to extend unemployment benefits under the plan, and wonders if government funds wouldn't be better spent training the workforce for jobs.

"I know right now we could hire in West Virginia - for good mining jobs - about 700 people," he said. "I talked to another person with a repair shop - he said he could hire 25.

"So for all those people who have expended all their extensions for unemployment - if we're going to continue an unemployment compensation - it should be done in the most compassionate way to make sure we are training for the jobs in West Virginia. If we don't do that, then we haven't done any good for anybody," he said.

By:  Joselyn King