West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin ripped President Barack Obama on his budget proposals in a Senate floor speech Tuesday, a rare rebuke from a freshman Democrat who clearly is worried about the politics of deficit spending as he faces a tough reelection in 2012.
Manchin charged the president with failing to lead the way in reducing spending, while also criticizing Republicans for offering “partisan” and “unrealistic” budget proposals.
Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations — our president — has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?”
The full-throated rejection of the president’s spending proposals by a politically vulnerable Democrat is just the latest worrisome sign for Obama and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who have yet to rally their party around a unified spending plan. Indeed, Democratic leaders are having trouble just keeping moderates on board — Sens. Claire McCaskill (D-Mo.) and Ben Nelson (D-Neb.) also have expressed skepticism that Democrats are willing to cut enough spending to satisfy voters and make a dent in the deficit.
Manchin will vote against both the Senate Democrats’ proposal, which will cut $10.6 billion below current spending levels and the House Republican version of the continuing resolution, which would cut $61 billion. The Senate is expected to vote on both this week, perhaps as early as Tuesday, and neither is expected to pass.
The government will run out of money on March 18 if there’s no compromise on federal spending, but it’s clear from Manchin’s comments that Democrats have work to do on their side of the aisle while Republicans put up a unified front on spending cuts.
Congress has been engaged in “political theater,” Manchin said. “Why are we voting on partisan proposals that we know will fail, that we all know don’t balance our nation’s priorities with the need to get our fiscal house in order?”
The remarks were first reported in POLITICO’s Huddle on Tuesday morning.
“Respectfully,” Manchin said, “I am asking President Obama to take this challenge head on and propose a compromise plan for dealing with the our nation’s fiscal challenges.” The White House declined to comment on Manchin’s remarks.
The bills proposed by both Democrats and Republicans take the wrong approaches, Manchin argued.
The Democratic bill includes $6.5 billion in cuts and “utterly ignores our fiscal reality — our nation is badly in debt and spending at absolutely unsustainable and out-of-control levels,” he said. “We must turn our financial ship around, but the Senate proposal continues to sail forward as if there’s no storm on the horizon.”
But Republicans’ spending plan for the rest of the year is “an even more flawed measure,” Manchin said. The GOP bill “blindly hacks the budget with no sense of our priorities or of our values as a country.”
Instead, Congress and the nation need the president’s leadership to work out a bipartisan compromise, Manchin said.
“I know it’s not easy. I know that it takes compromise. I know it will be partisan and difficult. I know that everyone will have to give up something and no one will want to relinquish anything. But that is what the American people demand.”
Answer by UpSheRises at 1:49 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:15 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
The GOP won the elections in Nov with the promise they had the answers....so where are the answers? If they truly had them what does it matter if the POTUS has any, Belly up to the bar Boys and lay them cards on the table. the country is waiting for somebody, anybody to provide some answers.
IMO> the time for point fingers is OVER, we need leadership and solutions, which I am not seeing from either side.
Answer by emptynstr at 2:31 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by yourspecialkid at 2:45 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
When Obama Speaks? He deceives...
"We[WaPo] also did some rough calculations to compare the current GOP plan to the $16 billion in budget cuts (known as recissions) made by congressional Republicans in 1995. All things being equal, the current House bill appears to be about three times as large as the bill that President Bill Clinton signed into law (after first vetoing an earlier version). That bill cut the budget by about 3 percent, or 0.2 percent of the gross domestic product; this proposal would reduce the budget about 8 percent, or 0.75 percent of GDP.
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:48 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
...."But has the White House offered “specific cuts,” as the president asserted? That’s not quite accurate, especially compared with the detailed cutbacks in the House bill. In fact, that’s where the White House’s arguments breaks down. The specific trims offered by Democrats amount to just $10.5 billion."
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:49 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
"Obama said the 2012 budget “will reduce our deficits by $1 trillion over the next decade.” That’s only through a number of dubious accounting gimmicks, which we have previously documented. The president’s proposals would actually increase the deficit in 2012, the year that counts."
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:50 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:52 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
President Obama's budget, the federal government would spend more than it takes in. It’s all laid out in the White House’s own budget tables:
Answer by grlygrlz2 at 2:57 PM on Mar. 8, 2011
Answer by LoriKeet at 4:45 PM on Mar. 8, 2011