Dem senator breaks with his party and Obama, again
March 21st, 2011
08:38 AM ET
12 years ago

Dem senator breaks with his party and Obama, again

(CNN) - Saying that "we must get our fiscal house in order," Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia says he'll vote against raising the nation's debt ceiling unless it's married to a plan that addresses the nation's broader fiscal problems.

The announcement Monday by Manchin is the latest example of the governor-turned-senator who's up for re-election next year being at odds with his party and President Obama on fiscal matters.

"We must be honest about what we value and what we need to spend your taxpayer dollars on – not what just sounds good," Manchin will say in an address to students at the University of Charleston.

"I have never put together a budget – be it my family's or as governor – that was based on how much we wanted to spend, but on what we had," Manchin will add, according to excerpts provided to CNN. "That is why I will vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the vote is linked to a real budget plan that begins to fix our fiscal mess. We cannot make budgets based on the next election; they must be based on the next generation."

A Manchin aide tells CNN that the speech will kick off what is being called a "Our Values, Our Priorities" weeklong tour.

Manchin was the first Democratic senator to announce he would vote against both of the continuing resolutions that were passed by Congress over the past five weeks to continue funding the federal government and temporarily avoiding a government shutdown.

Earlier this month he also voted against his party's bill to fund the government through the end of the fiscal year, and on the Senate floor criticized Obama, saying "our president...has failed to lead this debate.

Manchin, the former popular two-term governor of West Virginia, won a special election last November to fill out the last two years of the term of the late Sen. Robert Byrd. Manchin could face a challenging re-election bid in 2012, when he will seek a full six year term.

Meanwhile, the Treasury Department now estimates that the debt ceiling could be hit between April 15 and May 31. If it's not raised, Treasury will not be allowed to borrow and therefore will not be able to pay the country's bills in full without taking drastic measures to cut spending or raise taxes.

In the past, Congress has always ended up raising the cap, if sometimes at the last minute. And some policy experts think they will do so again, but there's no guarantee precedent will hold.

Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner last week said in a congressional hearing that there would be "catastrophic" consequences if lawmakers votes against raising the debt ceiling and the government defaulted on its loans.

"In the coming weeks, we will face many difficult budget decisions. I know it will not be easy. I know that it will take 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 we cannot ignore the fiscal Titanic of our national debt and deficit," Manchin will say.

- CNN Money Senior Writer Jeanne Sahadi contributed to this report

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @PsteinhauserCNN

Filed under: Joe Manchin
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Tim

    DOes anyone take Obama, or for that matter the Democratic party, seriously? If you do, I'd like to meet you. I have a bridge for sale and would love to take advantage of your gullibility.

    March 21, 2011 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  2. Clwyd

    Good, then he can take the blame along with republicans when people go without if the government shuts down. They did this years ago and there was a mass outcry against all of them!

    March 21, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  3. Shayne from NH

    Bravo. His line "I have never put together a budget – be it my family's or as governor – that was based on how much we wanted to spend, but on what we had" is probably one of the smartest things I've heard out of Washington on the budget debate yet.

    March 21, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  4. d

    Why is that every time I see a link that says "Top Democrat blasts Obama", or "Obama gets bad news from top Dem", it's always about Joe Manchin? Manchin is hardly a top Democrat. He's been a senator for what, three months now? Quite trying to sensationalize this, CNN. We know Manchin doesn't hold the president in high regard, but Manchin is hardly the voice of the Democratic party.

    March 21, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  5. sandra goldsmith

    Get rid of the turncoat!! We don't need Dems like Manchin!

    March 21, 2011 10:20 am at 10:20 am |
  6. Derrek Farr

    Every week, we hear more and more Democrats bailing on Obama's agenda, and you come on the message boards and still see, no matter what they say, no matter what the facts are, no matter how bad Obama does, you internet trolls still give him a free pass on everything. The hypocrisy displayed on CNN is laughable. Obama bombs Libya, where's the outrage for Obama being a "war criminal?" If Bush bombed Libya, you would be up in arms about this, but you give Obama a free pass on everything.

    March 21, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. NVa Native

    Manchin has sold his soul to the devil to get elected, and now he has to pay for it. There are a lot of jokes about people from West Va. This is an illustration why – a rational politician must vote irrationally to appease a large portion of his constituency who are irrational.

    March 21, 2011 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  8. Francisco Cardenas

    He should just become a republican and quit playing games with the voters!

    March 21, 2011 10:23 am at 10:23 am |
  9. Bob in PA

    Here are some starters for that Plan
    Get rid of 25 – 30 % of this wasteful government ! Yes that means putting some more people on Unemployment !
    Does Congress or the Senate need so many aids and perks ? I think not !
    Does Congress need a fully funded Pension after a year of service ? I think not !
    Prohibit federal funding of any project named in honor of a active Congressman or Senator.

    March 21, 2011 10:24 am at 10:24 am |
  10. GrogInOhio

    Dear Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia... ways to address our fiscal issues...
    1 – Leave Iraq
    2 – Leave Afghanistan
    3 – Expire the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy

    You're welcome...
    US Taxpayers

    March 21, 2011 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  11. ThinkAgain

    Want to bring down the debt? Do this:

    1. End the $60 BILLION a year oil industry subsidy (this industry has been making record profits; they don't need our taxpayer dollars).

    2. Eliminate waste in the defense budget, using the military's own list of programs to cut as a starting point.

    3. Raise the highest personal income tax bracket from 36% to 39%. I'm sure these folks will manage to scrimp by.

    4. Riase the FICA income limit from $106,000 to $250,000 (or better yet, eliminate the cap altogether).

    5. End no-bid contracts. (Why aren't all the die-hard capitalists upset by this rigged system that eliminates free market competition?)

    March 21, 2011 10:32 am at 10:32 am |
  12. Nick

    Wonder if Manchin is lining up for a primary challenge?

    March 21, 2011 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  13. Oy Vey Az

    Well the words "West Virginia" says it all . I am ready to give up something ... I choose Sen. Joe Manchin ,,, now he would be a bad habit worth giving up for sure!

    March 21, 2011 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  14. jpmichigan

    I applaud a senator who finally is using common sense. You cannot spend what you don't have. More on the Hill should follow his lead.

    March 21, 2011 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  15. Ernie

    Senator Joe Manchin telling Obama and the rest of the democratic party that he was not sent to Washington to be a business as usual seator. He is telling Obama that he doesn't plan on voting on the debt ceiling. This is a clear message he is sending to all the democrates that if you go along with the Obama you will not be rel-elected. Look for Senator Manchin to keep the pressure on Obama and the democratic party. For every one vote in the democratic controled senate who vote aganist the debt celing it's a message to Obama that he will not get the support of the Democratic Party come re-election time.

    March 21, 2011 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  16. The Real Tom Paine

    When he volunteers to cut to the tax breaks the Coal Companies get, not to mention all the infrastructure projects West Virgina enjoys, then he can talk. Until then, please be quiet. Your hypocrisy is nauseating.

    March 21, 2011 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. RinMaine

    You are not a significant person. You are not intelligent. You are disloyal to the United States. Shut up and try to do your job.

    March 21, 2011 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  18. Sue

    Manchin knows that if he does not distance himself FAR from Obama and the rest of the loony left liberals, he will never be reelected. As the 2012 elections get closer, more and more Democrats who are running in conservative leaning areas, are going to distance themselves from Obama and the loony left liberals.-The next issue that Manchin will have to distance himself- is Obama, Reid, Pelosi's attempts to use the EPA to push Obama's Cap and Trade. This issue is supposed to come up within the next 3 weeks. According to what I have read, Harry Reid is scared to death of this vote-as he knows that Manchin and many other Democrats are going to try to save their own political skins by going against it.

    March 21, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. sammieb51

    Job creation is totally missing in the budget cuts passed by house..... infrastructure yields 150% of investment and unless you were asleep for the last 10 years, we need to rebuild infrastructure (bridges, roads, dams/levees, electrical grids, water/sewer plants, railways) desperately in this country. And cut the stipend to big oil, the "welfare" states that contribute 1/2 of what they get back from teh fed govt, farm subsidies, military spending. We'd have enuf to go forward with a new vision of the future of the US.

    March 21, 2011 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  20. blue

    Even Democrats put re-election above what is best for our country. What a disappointment this former governor has turned out to be. President Obama has turned this country around and still some in his own party can't be trusted. Who created this mess? Let's not forget.

    March 21, 2011 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  21. Den

    Finally – some real backbone in Washington. About time!

    March 21, 2011 10:55 am at 10:55 am |
  22. bill

    Then,why don,t you join the "Teapot Movement" ? Go with the party of "NO"!!!!!

    March 21, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  23. Really

    Proof is in the pudding that this administration's thought process concerning the nation's debt is way off base.

    March 21, 2011 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
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