January 11, 2012

Sen. Manchin stresses bipartisanship on Common Sense tour | West Virginia Public Broadcasting

Sen. Joe Manchin spoke to reporters Tuesday as part of his latest tour across the state calling for more common sense in Washington D.C. Manchin is proposing ideas to dissolve partisan gridlock in the nation’s capital.

Manchin is touring the state the next two weeks on a “Standing Up for Common Sense” tour.

He’s talking about the problems he’s seeing in Washington and discussing his ideas on solving those problems.

Manchin says everywhere he goes he’s seeing a great deal of dissatisfaction with how Congress is doing business.

“I go around the state, people say Washington is broke, but if you allow that attitude to break you, then the changes that we’re needing won’t happen,” Manchin said.

“I see a dysfunctional, unworking government, but I still have hope that we can repair it and fix it.”

West Virginia’s junior senator sent a letter to the President and congressional leaders giving his ideas on how to get Washington working better.

He’s proposing three ideas: one, for members of Congress to sit together again, regardless of party affiliation, during the President’s State of the Union address later this month.

Second, Manchin wants a bipartisan forum this year for members of Congress and the President, to talk about the nation’s challenges and how bipartisan compromises can be reached on policy.

Finally, the senator wants monthly bipartisan caucus meetings in Congress.

He says it’s important to invite the President to those meetings to improve communication.

“I’m sending that letter today, that would be a suggestion of things I hope they would look at, starting with sitting together, starting with having a bipartisan meeting where we can sit and ask questions back and forth,” Manchin said.

“Also, I think in 2012, what we to take on, we need need to look at our social programs and protect those, and not scare the living bejesus out of people that they’re going to lose their Social Security or their Medicare. But also eliminate the fraud, waste and abuse.”

As part of the tour, Manchin is discussing his views on energy policy, the debt, and defense spending.

Last week, President Obama announced he wants to cut Pentagon spending by nearly $ 500 billion over the next decade.

It’s been criticized by some of the Republican Presidential candidates, but Manchin says he agrees with the President.

Manchin says too much of the money in the defense budget is going to private contractors.

“You tell me that we can’t cut and get back to what we are and who we are and keep the strongest, best military in the world? That’s ridiculous. We’re talking about $50 billion a year, that’s it? I think there’s more that can cut. I truly do,” he said.

By:  Ben Adducchio