January 26, 2012

Manchin Will Vote to Reject $1.2T Increase that Would Raise U.S. Debt Limit to $16.4 Trillion

Senate will vote today on whether to approve President’s request for second highest increase in history

For the first time since World War II, total U.S. debt now exceeds the gross domestic product 

Washington, D.C. – U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who became the first Senate Democrat to announce he would vote against raising the debt ceiling without a long-term fix in place last March, said today that he will vote against the latest debt ceiling hike. The $1.2 trillion increase would be the second highest in history and would allow U.S. debt to reach $16.4 trillion by the end of the year.

“When the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff says the greatest threat to our national security is our debt – not another nation, not another army, not the fear of another attack – we’ve hit the wall. But this problem is not a Democratic or Republican problem, it’s an American problem. Since both parties share blame for creating it, we must work together to fix it. 

“Last fall, I was hopeful that the super committee would succeed, but it did not. Since then, our leaders have done nothing to develop a meaningful, long-term solution to address our nation’s debt and deficits. 

“So today, I cannot in good conscience vote to raise the debt ceiling to an unprecedented $16.4 trillion in the absence of any real fix or pathway to a real fix. 

“We all know that solving our debt crisis will not be easy, but it is absolutely incomprehensible that all our leaders are ignoring one of the best frameworks we have: the bipartisan, commonsense Bowles-Simpson agreement that emerged from the President’s fiscal commission. Whether we choose to follow the Bowles-Simpson framework or another idea, we must do what is right: eliminate wasteful spending, cut our deficits and achieve meaningful tax reform.

“My vote today is a message to the leaders in Congress and the President that they must act now. Doing nothing – or, even worse, papering over our very real fiscal problems with temporary, Band-Aid solutions – is no longer an option for the people of West Virginia and this great nation.” 


  • For the first time since World War II, the national debt now exceeds the gross domestic product. 

  • By 2021, without a debt fix, our debt will hit $21 trillion.

  • In 2021, without debt fix, our nation will spend more on the interest on our debt than we do on education, energy and our defense – combined.

  • Admiral Mike Mullen, then-Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said in a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Feb. 16, 2011: “I believe that our debt is the greatest threat to our national security. If we as a country do not address our fiscal imbalances in the near-term, our national power will erode, and the costs to our ability to maintain and sustain influence could be great.”