January 11, 2012

Manchin speaks in favor of bipartisan solutions | The Beckley Register-Herald

In his West Virginia “Standing Up for Common Sense” tour, Sen. Joe Manchin spoke out in favor of bipartisan solutions to national problems.

Manchin has sent a letter to President Obama and Congress outlining three steps that will refocus Democrats and Republicans alike on solving American’s problems. He encourages all Americans to stand up with him and send letters to elected officials supporting the bipartisan initiatives.

Manchin first requests that the president, Senate and House leaders support Democrats and Republicans sitting together at the Jan. 24 State of the Union address and to extend bipartisan seating to committee meetings.

“Politics being played without looking for a pathway to fix things and putting parties’ interests above the interests of the country is a formula for disaster,” he said.

The senator pointed out that congressmen don’t have much time to interact across party lines and build any type of relationship.

Sitting together, he said, “sends a strong signal that we can work together and start working together by siting together and sharing that type of camaraderie. It gives us time to talk about issues and come to an agreement.”

Manchin also requests that Congress hold a 2012 bipartisan forum to discuss major challenges and, in an effort to continue to help Congress and the president community more effectively, to hold subsequent bipartisan caucus meetings and invite the president to participate.

“We need to start bring this country back together by bringing the elected officials back together,” he said.

Manchin added that elected officials need to vote according to what is best for the country, not what protects their political seats.

“You are fixing the country for the next generation and the sacrifice you are making is that you might not get reelected. That is not a big sacrifice,” he said.

“I truly believe there is going to be corrections — that we can fix this and that Americans are going to stand up for common sense,” he added.

In the upcoming year, Manchin expects to see close attention to social programs.

“We need to eliminate the fraud, waste and abuse, but protect the money that goes into social security,” he said.

He wants to see the creation of jobs and for the government to look at America’s debt with an eye to tax reform.

“We need a meaningful tax reform. The wealthiest who have benefited from previous tax codes are not benefiting America,” he said.

He also expects to see energy reform.

Moreover, Manchin added that he supports President Obama’s recent Pentagon budget cuts, stating that even more cuts in defense could be made and America would still have the best military in the world.

More than half the defense funds, he explained, are going to private contractors, not uniformed soldiers.

Manchin concluded that “no matter who the president may be, we should do all we can to help the president be the best he can be. I hope this year is a much better year for him and for us.”

By:  Sarah Plummer