May 02, 2011

Manchin Wraps Up "Commonsense Solutions" Week with Coffee and Common Sense in Kingwood, Grafton

Manchin visited 9 counties, traveled nearly 1,500 miles unveiling commonsense measures to repair nation’s most serious challenges

Legislation includes efforts to reduce national debt and deficits, substance abuse, high unemployment 

Washington, D.C. — After visiting nine counties and traveling nearly 1,500 miles, U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) wrapped up “Commonsense Solutions” Week with “Coffee and Common Sense” events in Kingwood and Grafton on Friday and Saturday.

“West Virginians are ready for Washington to start fixing some of the incredible challenges facing this country, instead of simply adding to them. In every community I visited this week, I discussed commonsense ideas about how we can tackle problems small and large. I proud to say that many of these ideas came from talking to the people of West Virginia over the past few months," Senator Manchin said. “I'm also thankful for all the support, insights and suggestions from West Virginians about how to make these commonsense solutions even better. Rest assured, whether it is the solutions to our national debt and deficits, high unemployment rates, or substance abuse in our communities, I will work hard to make sure that we address the major challenges facing our nation while keeping our promises to our families, veterans and seniors.”

The CAP Act and Balanced Budget Amendment

Senator Manchin kicked off “Commonsense Solutions” Week Tuesday by announcing his support for two commonsense measures to control federal spending: the Corker-McCaskill CAP Act to cap federal spending and the Udall-Shelby Balanced Budget Amendment. Senator Manchin, who announced last month that he won't vote to raise the debt ceiling without a debt fix in place, believes both measures represent a strong, bipartisan start to begin a negotiating framework for the final agreement.  

In remarks delivered to residents in South Charleston, Senator Manchin spoke to West Virginians and outlined why exploding debt represents a threat to their families and the nation, and how these two commonsense solutions offer a good starting point and framework for reining in the nation's exploding spending, deficits and debts.

“Left unchecked, our exploding national debt will paralyze this nation. It will cost us countless jobs. It will strangle our ability to invest in vital priorities like energy, our children and our communities. It will weaken our national defense and it will derail critical programs like Social Security and Medicare," Senator Manchin said. “I believe that both the CAP Act and Balanced Budget Amendment offer a good framework for a bipartisan debt fix, but let me be clear that one of my top priorities will be to make sure that any debt fix keeps our promises to seniors and protects Social Security and Medicare.”

A 3-Point Plan to Fight Drug Abuse

Outside Cabell Huntington Hospital on Wednesday, flanked by doctors and law enforcement, Senator Manchin announced a three-point plan to fight drug abuse nationwide. Senator Manchin and community officials stressed the immediate need for commonsense federal measures to combat drug abuse in West Virginia and the nation.

West Virginia has one of the nation’s highest rates of drug overdose deaths, and Senator Manchin pledged his support for legislation that would put a federal ban on deadly synthetic drugs being marketed as “bath salts” and “plant food,” and add them to the list of controlled substances. He also announced that he will introduce new legislation in the Senate to crack down on so-called “pill mills,” the places people can go to get powerful prescription drugs that they do not use for medical reasons.

“Every day, our hospitals deal with the effects of drug overdose. Each day, families are being destroyed by prescription drug abuse and other synthetic drugs,” Senator Manchin said at Wednesday’s event at Cabell Huntington Hospital. “No one should be able to exploit loopholes or weaknesses in the law to manufacture dangerous and illicit drugs. The commonsense measures I am supporting would strengthen our laws and better protect our families and children from the dangers of drug abuse.”

The Jobs Score Act

On Thursday, Senator Manchin unveiled “The Jobs Score Act,” commonsense legislation that will help Washington stay laser-focused on what matters most: creating and protecting jobs.

“For far too long, Washington has not done enough to reduce our unacceptably high unemployment rates or make jobs this country’s No. 1 priority,” Senator Manchin said. “There is nothing more important than creating jobs, and its time that all lawmakers of both parties start thinking about one very simple question before they vote on bills: how will this affect jobs? The Jobs Score Act is a piece of commonsense legislation that will ensure your elected representatives know exactly how many jobs would be created, protected or lost with each bill." 

The government already requires that bills be “scored” for the amount of money that each will cost. Senator Manchin’s commonsense legislation would simply require the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to determine the number of jobs that would be created, protected, or lost should a specific piece of legislation become law – so lawmakers can take jobs into account as their top priority. This bill will make debates about jobs more transparent and concrete, giving lawmakers a solid basis of information for decision-making.


Full list of events this week

Tuesday: Coffee and Commonsense in South Charleston, visit to Summers County Courthouse, visit to Monroe County Courthouse, town hall meeting in Bluefield. 

Wednesday: Introduction of national drug abuse prevention legislation at Cabell Huntington Hospital, visit to Marshall University. 

Thursday: 2011 West Virginia Leadership Conference in Morgantown, 2011 IBEW Fourth District Progress Meeting, visit to IBM in Keyser. 

Friday: Coffee and Commonsense in Kingwood. 

Saturday: Coffee and Commonsense in Grafton.