Dem senator breaks with his party and Obama, again
March 21st, 2011
08:38 AM ET
11 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. John

    What a fool, risking the future of his country to score a minute's cheap political advantage.

    March 21, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  2. New Age Independant

    I'm betting there will be many more Democrats that will jump Obama's sinking ship. In nearly every phase of his Presidency Obama has clearly failed. Even now, Liberals are scrambling with Libya. Obama says we will have a minimal role yet we have the most military involved. Liberals give their guy a complete pass on everything when they vilified Bush for the same actions. Democrats now have zero creditability, is it any wonder that Manchin wants nothing of the floundering Democrat handling of the economy?

    March 21, 2011 08:53 am at 8:53 am |
  3. diridi

    I do not know whether he knows that states are in trouble with Iraq mess, which created this fiscal ditch. Now is not the time to be just like Joe Sestak, o.k. We yes need to do some thing on spending. But, education, infrastructure, health care...i mean exchanges in health care by states, social security, medicare, etc, all the ones needed ones....well, let me tell you, fixing the economy takes time....I think, one hundred percent we are going on right track....nation is in right track....o.k, Obama's decision in Libya is pure righteous one.....I vote one hundred percent on his decision.....He involved all coalitions.....french, Germany, Briton, etc.....o.k. He clearly told no troops of us on ground....we need stricter immigration, and reduction in immigration numbers...too...watch these India guys who are cheating on immigration....I am glad, Rajrajaratnam, Rajat gupta, etc, got caught in Trading crimes....but people who suffered need to be paid full compensation.....o.k.

    March 21, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  4. Mark

    So far for cutting the defense budget and not social programs huh liberals?

    March 21, 2011 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  5. Bill in STL

    Your a Bad Bad boy Senator .... the President will be sending some people to talk with you about this, Chicago style!

    March 21, 2011 08:57 am at 8:57 am |
  6. diogenes

    And since we are now in another war, we better fire some more teachers, close more schools and stop feeding those poor kids. Hell, they are such a drain on society, I mean, common' how can we pay for cruise missiles and lower taxes otherwise?
    Go US economy! (anyone else hear the echos of Rome?)

    March 21, 2011 08:58 am at 8:58 am |
  7. Los Angeles

    That's fine... but the next time there is a mining accident, don't expect the federal government to have the resources to provide any help.

    March 21, 2011 08:59 am at 8:59 am |
  8. mc

    Thats the problem with the democrats, they don't know how to stick together the way the republicans do, you would think they would learn from how effective the republican strategy is; stick together, one voice.

    March 21, 2011 09:01 am at 9:01 am |
  9. Mark

    You mean this guy lives in reality?

    March 21, 2011 09:02 am at 9:02 am |
  10. GL

    He is fake and run when it is time to vote. He have yet put his money where his mouth is. I bet when it come time to vote on rasing the dept ceiling he will be no where to be found. He is no one to depend on for a vote. He have showed us early on what he really is about and that is serving himself.

    March 21, 2011 09:08 am at 9:08 am |
  11. Frank

    Courage! Leadership! Gotta love it. Sen Joe Manchin = A+

    March 21, 2011 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  12. GL

    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.

    And he will and it will come from the left.

    March 21, 2011 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  13. Cindy Morris

    I worked for the Federal Government in WV for nearly forty years. West Virginians, helped by Robert Byrd and Jay Rockefeller, probably get more federal money per capita than any state in the nation. I think Manchin is right about cutting the budget - and West Virginia is without a doubt the place to start!

    March 21, 2011 09:11 am at 9:11 am |
  14. Brutus

    Good Job – Keep it up.

    I voted Anti-McCainPalin and still feel it was the only choice so I don't regret that decision but this presidency has been a dissappointment every day since.

    Balanced Budget is the only solution.

    If that means cutting military spending do it. If it means raising taxes do it.
    I don't get to put a plasma screen in every room of my house as much as I would like it cause I can't afford it. The government needs to live by the same principles.

    March 21, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  15. EmperorBarry

    As you know my Americans, my motto is you have to spend money to pay off debt. With that in mind i propose another trillion dollar stimulus package.

    March 21, 2011 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  16. Republicans Are The American Taliban

    So Joe...I guess next election cycle, the people of West Virginia will break with you!

    March 21, 2011 09:14 am at 9:14 am |
  17. Frank simmons

    Politics. He's afraid of the Tea Party.

    March 21, 2011 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  18. Mark

    If Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin is too chicken to be a Democrat, he needs to become a republican. He is a weak PUSE like most politicians.

    March 21, 2011 09:17 am at 9:17 am |
  19. razmataz

    SLowly, the light's coming on for more and more Democrats. Perhaps there's hope for this country yet!

    March 21, 2011 09:26 am at 9:26 am |
  20. Anthony

    First, the plan must spell out the spending cuts that are needed to pay for the tax cuts that Obama just agreed to with Republicans after the election. Unlike Obama's health care plan, which raises revenues to pay for the spending, the extension of the Bush tax cuts, like the Bush tax cuts themselves, simply blew a hole in the budget without corresponding spending cuts. Republicans had 30 years of experience of cutting taxes without cutting spending, and all that did was driving up the national debt. The debt was less than 1 trillion before Reagan. It was 10.6 trillion when Bush left office. Obama did not help by continuing the Bush tax cuts and extending them, even though we were fighting two wars and the recession cost 7-8 million jobs (and taxpayers) between 2008-2009.

    March 21, 2011 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  21. Dave

    Go get em Joe. Somebody is standing up for what is right than what is politically correct for his party.

    March 21, 2011 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  22. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    I am beginning to think that the Florida guy that Manchin ran against would have been a better choice for senator in WV. I thought only republicans were clueless when it came to working our way out a near depression. It appears that the Kochs bought a democrat.

    March 21, 2011 09:31 am at 9:31 am |
  23. abnguy

    If Joe keeps making fiscal sense with rational thought they are going to kick him out of the party.

    March 21, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  24. Darth Vadik, CA

    That's Manchins prerogative, he's got to do what he thinks is best for his state, but Manchin also has to remember this...

    ...in the last 40 years, Republicans have rarely been correct about anything, and even if they were on a right track occasionally, they have done it for the wrong reasons and with spite, so...just be careful who your friends are Manchin...

    March 21, 2011 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  25. KatR

    "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,"

    Neither the family budget nor the budget of one state can compare to the budget of the 3rd largest country in the world, which America is. The GOP/TP coalition in Congress needs to accept this fact and cease acting like a panicked mob that seeks to slash govt spending simply to get the figures down. In the century since the income tax has been in place previous presidents and Congress responsibly raised the tax rates in times of war and lowered them in times of peace. Then, in 2001 and 2003 the president and Congress broke that tradition by lowering taxes during a time of two wars. The illogical conservative ideology that tax cuts result in greater tax revenues has been proven false. It's long past time for conservatives in Congress to accept the truth. If they don't adjust their governing ideology I predict that the American people will overwhelming cast their votes in 2012 for Democrats and Independent candidates.

    March 21, 2011 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
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