June 18, 2015

Manchin Opposes Fiscally Irresponsible Defense Bills

Washington, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) released the following statement on his opposition to the fiscally irresponsible defense bills and his strong support for the troops.

“First of all, I have always supported our troops, and I always will.  But for the first time since I have been in Washington, we are not legislating by crisis. We are not voting at midnight before a deadline expires. We are finally debating legislation that would set and fund our national defense policy almost three months before it would impact our service members. And while I commend Senator McCain and Senator Reed for their leadership and their commitment to protecting our troops, I believe we should work over the next three months to get it right.

“Today, I was asked to vote for two defense bills that included more than $35 billion in a hidden slush fund to support unaccountable and endless wars. We used this gimmick to fund the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan without paying for them, and that added more than a trillion dollars to our deficit. These were not bills I could support, because I believe we owe it to our country and our troops to have a coherent strategy to win the wars we are currently fighting, bring our troops home and support our servicemen and women the way they have supported us. These bills do not do that. 

“While I fully support our troops, I cannot support defense bills that attempt to dump more than $35 billion into a hidden Overseas Contingency Operations account to fund never-ending wars with no accountability, review or oversight. We have lost more than 6,800 of our brave service members, deployed more than 2.5 million of our troops, impacted countless military families, spent more than a trillion U.S. dollars and we have trained and equipped foreign fighters – none of this has made a difference in that part of the world.

“We have more than enough time to have a robust debate on the responsible policies we should be pursuing. I have said this from day one: the U.S. has – and will continue to have – the greatest military in the world. But in order to remain the most powerful country on Earth, we must have a coherent policy to win the wars we are fighting, responsibly fund our troops and our commitments to our veterans and get our financial house in order.”