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. a in austin

    I thought Koch only bought the gobp – this guy is a dem in name only. Let's balance the budget, just not on the backs of Midlle Class Americans. It's time the corporations pay their fair share!

    March 21, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  2. Rick McDaniel

    He is right......the fiscal irresponsibility cannot continue.

    March 21, 2011 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  3. gt

    manchin for president ,,,,this guy is a true leader... good job .. good choice west just rid of the other billin are senator....the Rockfreeloader is out of touch with west virginia....

    March 21, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  4. ConservaFascists/F.U.B.A.R.

    He's a Democrat In Name Only.

    March 21, 2011 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  5. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Manchin is not a democrat, or he would be standing up for Americans. I don't understand why he would want to be a republican, as they are a lower form of life.

    March 21, 2011 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  6. Aeromechanic.

    Want to fix the budget problems? Rescind the tax breaks for the weathly. When they start paying their fair share, percentage wise, revenue will rise.

    Some may say that the weathliest are paying a mojority of all taxes already. That may be true based on a dollar amount, but not as a percentage of their total income.

    I say we should all be taxed at the same rate. Think about it, we all pay the same sales tax for whatever location we are in, why not pay the same income tax rate?

    March 21, 2011 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  7. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    So far Manchin has avoided every important vote. Like a wet noodle, you cannot accuse him of taking a stand.

    March 21, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  8. Bob

    It really is sad when it gets to the point that a country must borrow money just to pay bills. Just ask the Greeks what happens when a country gets to that point. Spend, spend, spend. Raise taxes by 5%, then up spending by 15%. Yep, that will fix it.balance the budget and get us out of debt trouble. The US is going.........down........

    March 21, 2011 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  9. Dave

    Another guy who doesn't understand fiscal responsibility. Debt ceiling and "getting your house in order" are two separate and distinct items. Debt ceiling enables us to operate as a federal government; Getting your house in order means convincing your fellow senators that they can't fund their special interests like the airports that service no one or convention centers in small towns. Debt ceiling enables us to pay our bills and obligations (we do have to pay what we committed to). The raising of the ceiling is not and should not be a political football for idiots like this or wanna be tea party nutjobs who will not be in congress in 10 years anyhow. We need to stop this nonsense and get down to the real business of governing the nation and not be ruled by a bunch of thugs that number less than 40,000 members. This sounds like Germany all over again in the 1930s!

    March 21, 2011 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  10. Squigman

    Yes. We need to get our financial house in order. (Ever notice there's never enough for domestic programs, or education, but there's always enough for military action in a foreign country). Maybe it's time for the masses to come to an understanding. As long as the news media, radio, television, internet, or any corporate based program, with a motivation of profit feeds the masses infomation, the information is subjective and needs to be filtered through the brain, before action becomes the catch phrase of the day.

    March 21, 2011 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  11. Jheron

    Dissention within a party can actually be a good thing. The Republicans should try it some time. I don't have a problem with this Senators views. The problem with the federal and state level governments is that they are trying to balance everything while maintaining tax cuts.
    Increasing revenue to the government is actually better for an economy than tax cuts for industry in many ways since the money will definitely be spent by the government in the local economy, whereas this is not necessarily the case with tax cuts where companies can choose to store the money or possibly invest overseas ( which does not apply to most companies...I don't want to go after the easy blame game here).
    The truth is that most companies pay a very low tax rate as do ALL Americans. Could the government try to be more efficient. Yes. But the truth is that alot of big industries are as inefficient or more especially where there is no true competition ( Halburton, Oil Industry, and the Health Insurance Industry).
    This country has been passing the buck since Reagan began lower taxes but not reflecting the loss of tax revenue by cutting programs. This has been going on for far too long now and the situation has to be addressed by both raising taxes and eliminating wasted spending.

    March 21, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  12. Karter

    Manchin is not up for re-election next year! He just got to the senate.

    March 21, 2011 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  13. lynn

    For sure the $5 million they cut for NPR went a long way to rein in the budget. What a waste of taxpayers money the legislators are. Cut their salaries, make them actually earn their pay, and maybe they'll take the job seriously and not just nit-pick each other. Where are the jobs the GOP promised, squat, nothing, zero, but NPR had to go. Clowns.

    March 21, 2011 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  14. Aaron P

    Perhaps the good Senator might not mind then if the National Party funds a true Democrat to run against him. Let's face it, he is really a Repuke lite.

    March 21, 2011 09:59 am at 9:59 am |
  15. John Q.

    Well, I hope others follow in trying to "get real" over our growing debt and spending. Congress and this administration are like a kid with a credit card problem. This continual kicking of "the can down the road" and Party politics has got to stop. When you see things like funding for "cowboy poets" and funding NPR that are treated as some national spending priority by the leadership in the Senate/Congress we are in BIG trouble.

    March 21, 2011 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
  16. Anonymous

    We have had RINOs, now we ha a DINO. This DS seems to think he can hold the government at bay just so he can get re-elected. I guess he must be following his prime conviction; to get re-elected at all costs. It may just cost him his base.

    March 21, 2011 10:03 am at 10:03 am |
  17. America Shrugged

    When is the Speaker of the House going to come up with a real budget? A real plan to reduce deficit spending and grow jobs? WHERE ARE THE JOBS? Defunding planned parenthood, NPR, PBS is a great side show for the teaparty, but it isn't going to balance the budget. The three sacred cows need to be slashed and right now. Military spending, SS and Medicare. Those are the 3 programs that are bankrupting us, not NPR, PBS or Planned Parenthood.

    March 21, 2011 10:04 am at 10:04 am |
  18. truesoy

    I would believe he is serious about it when he, and others : 1) take a reduction in salary and benefits 2) tie changes in their pay and benefits to any change made to social security 3) apply social security's retirement age to theirs.

    March 21, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  19. Jilli

    It's a shame that Manchin feels he has to grandstand like this to keep his seat – his actions actually influence my opinion of him (to the negative) moreso than the president. I'd appreciate less lip and more action – it's all just a charade.

    March 21, 2011 10:07 am at 10:07 am |
  20. jimrytwn

    We have had RINOs; now we have a DINO. Good ole' boy, Joe, seems to voting his PRIME conviction; to get re-elected. He may find it will cost him his base. Good luck in 2012, Joe. You're going to need it.

    March 21, 2011 10:08 am at 10:08 am |
  21. Dennis

    The rare Democrat no spouting the party mantra: Tax, Tax, Tax, Spend, Spend, Spend

    March 21, 2011 10:09 am at 10:09 am |
  22. chill

    There is no chance to pull together a credible plan on the deficit by the time the debt limit needs to be raised. It's not realistic. Any comprehensive plan will require a major re-write of the tax code to do away with most or all "spending" through tax credits that no one seems to recognize (outside the debt commission). Medicare/Medicade will also need to be dealt with. It should be done for the next FY, but April ro even early May is not realistic. This ain't bumper sticker governing.

    March 21, 2011 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  23. steven harnack

    Why is it that the politicians from the poorest states are always so contrary? Oh my, I may have just hit on cause and effect.

    March 21, 2011 10:14 am at 10:14 am |
  24. TOM

    Why is it, these congressmen keep blaming Pres Obama for not leading them? It seems they don't want to do the job we hired them to do. Constantly complaining about someone else only makes me believe they are really trying to hide their own insecurities. Since the Congress and the President are suppose to be separate entities, why do the congressmen thing Pres Obama should lead them. Go up and get a set and quit complaining. If no one is leading then you get out there and lead.

    March 21, 2011 10:16 am at 10:16 am |
  25. Bruce

    Manchin comes by his views honestly - but let's not forget that most of the Republicans in the Senate, at least, and all but the newest GOP members of the House had no problem raising the debt cieling during Mr. Bush's two terms, and never would have confronted a president of their own party on his issue - which leads one to suspect that it only became an issue for them (and most of the Tea Party people) when a Democrat became president.

    March 21, 2011 10:17 am at 10:17 am |
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