December 18, 2015

Manchin Votes Against Irresponsible $680 Billion Tax Extenders Package

Senator Manchin opposes bill that adds to our mounting debt, extends tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans and ignores the fiscally responsible “Miners Protection Act”

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) today issued the following statement after voting against $680 billion in tax expenditures to millionaires and billionaires included in the $1.1 trillion spending package, especially since the bill omits the fiscally responsible Miners Protection Act.

“Instead of voting on just a $1.1 trillion spending bill that helps veterans, middle class families, our defense department, our border security and a host of other valuable federal programs, we were forced to vote on a tax extender package that piles on an additional, unpaid-for $680 billion full of gifts for special interest groups. By needlessly spending more than half a trillion dollars, this tax-extenders bill further harms our financial problems. It is irresponsible, reckless and unethical to further jeopardize our children’s and grandchildren’s future by adding to our nation’s mounting debt. Tom Brokaw famously wrote about the ‘Greatest Generation’ and their contributions to our country and world. With this vote, and the burden we have left for our children and grandchildren, we are quickly becoming the ‘Worst Generation.’

“What is most disappointing, this legislation ignores the needs of hard-working West Virginia families, who already bear too much of the tax burden, and elevates the interests of large corporations and the wealthy. Rather than extending tax breaks for millionaires and billionaires, we could be investing this $680 billion to give $5,600 refunds to each household in West Virginia, investing an additional $140 billion to double our U.S. border security, reversing defense cuts by $405 billion, making college debt-free for our West Virginia students or increasing funding for our infrastructure.

“I am especially disappointed that the Miners Protection Act, which I reintroduced earlier this year, was not included in this legislation. My language would have protected our miners’ hard-earned pensions and health benefits. Sadly, this important provision was left out of the bill by Republican leadership. As a result, 125,000 miners may face shortfalls in their pension payments and healthcare coverage, which will only increase the final cost on the federal government.

“I used every procedural rule I could to prevent a vote on this irresponsible and reckless spending package. We simply cannot afford to continue down this path and keep piling up more debt on the backs of our middle class. We must work together and find a path toward fixing our long-term spending and debt problems. To start, we can work together to pass long-term, comprehensive tax reform that will restore fairness and confidence in our economy.”