January 10, 2012

Manchin talks D.C. with Milton community | The Huntington Herald-Dispatch

MILTON — Sen. Joe Manchin told a group of more than 100 people at the Milton Senior Citizen Center that the bickering in Congress is out of hand, with more lawmakers worried about their political party instead of what it means to be an American. 

The Democrat, who said he’s an American first, spent Monday in Lincoln and Cabell counties as part of a two-week Standing Up for Common Sense tour in his home state. 

He said he is as frustrated as the people in the crowd with what is happening in Washington, D.C. He boasted of the economic stability West Virginia has sustained since his terms as governor, which has continued in the past year as well. 

Several folks yelled out encouragement for Manchin to run for president in 2016. 

He spoke of the debt problem West Virginia used to be in and how he and lawmakers decided not to fill vacant positions or start new programs; they paid down debt instead. 

“We’re spending too much and leaving too many people behind,” he said. 

In Washington, he said, everyone wants to pay national deficit down but no one wants to be the person who cuts a program or raises revenues. 

“You can’t be everything to everybody,” Manchin said of how West Virginia rights its ship. “What were our priorities? Children, seniors and veterans.” People at the senior center asked about the stability of Social Security, improving the results of students and how to bring manufacturing back to America.

“If we don’t have fortitude and guts to fix (Social Security), by 2037, there will be a 22 percent with no input because it will be flat broke.” Manchin also spoke out against members of Congress and the American people in general who are rooting for and working toward President Obama to fail. He said Americans, regardless of their party affiliation, should want their president to do well because that improves the country. 

He also called out members of Congress for failing to get any meaningful work done with the budget. 

“I believe in a balanced budget,” he said, following up a statement by someone in the crowd calling for Congress to pass a balanced budget. “We have to balance it over time, to get to solvency. We can smooth things out over 10 years.” He said the country can’t trim $1 trillion all at once, but can move in that direction over time. Doing nothing, he said, would continue the growth of the national deficit to a point that in nine years, the interest payments will be more than the Department of Defense budget. 

Manchin also visited Lincoln County High School, where he commemorated the opening of the first high school food pantry sponsored by a Feeding America food bank in West Virginia. The purpose of the pantry is to provide a resource to high school students at risk of hunger. 

He also spoke Monday morning at Shoney’s in St. Albans and toured the Lincoln County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Hamlin Monday afternoon.

By:  Bill Rosenberger