Lone Dem Senator pledges to oppose both debt ceiling proposals
July 28th, 2011
07:59 PM ET
10 years ago

Lone Dem Senator pledges to oppose both debt ceiling proposals

Washington (CNN)–Democratic Sen. Joe Manchin vowed he would not vote for the Republican, plan to raise the nation's debt ceiling Thursday. But he won't vote for the Democratic-backed plan either.

"Washington may be broken, but it will not break me," he said in a speech on the Senate floor.

"And you should not let it break you, either," Manchin chided President Barack Obama.

The first-term senator, who was voted into office during a special election after veteran West Virginia Sen. Robert Byrd's death, is the only Democrat in the Senate to withhold his vote from either plan.

"I came here to fix things, not to make things worse," he said.

Standing by a promise that he wouldn't vote to raise the amount of money the nation can borrow "without a long-term fix," Manchin said he viewed the plan put forth by Senate Majority Leader Reid as a short-term fix. And House Speaker John Bohener's proposal? A shorter-term fix.

"In my estimation, neither of the two plans …that are currently proposed by Republican or Democratic leadership comes close to preventing our nation from being downgraded or actually solving the debt crisis we face," he said.

Manchin, a former governor of West Virginia, criticized the plan put forth by his own party leader because it "doesn't make sense."

He compared "including $1.2 trillion in savings from the wars that we should not be fighting" to a family purchasing a $20,000 car instead of a $50,000 car and saying they saved $30,000.

It's like, "saying that we will save money we haven't even budgeted," Manchin argued.

And the Boehner plan "kicks the can down the road to 2012," he claimed.

For those reasons, Sen. Manchin will not back either deal because, "I can't support a short-term deal that is just a little better than the shorter-term deal."

Democratic House members of the Congressional Black Caucus have also pledged to vote "no" on both bills, believing the fiscal and debt debates should not be linked together. Instead, they would like to see the debt limit raised with nothing attached.

CNN's Paul Steinhauser and Lisa Desjardins contributed to this report.

Filed under: Debt • Deficit • Joe Manchin
soundoff (32 Responses)
  1. johnmenacherjr

    This guy is back to be a fence rider and so called blue demo aka teabagger. I am really sick of these oportunists!

    July 29, 2011 06:36 am at 6:36 am |
  2. Ron

    Starting to sound like a Tea Party man! You do see what they are doing to the republican party, right? Democrats will not allow that to happen. You'd do yourself better to shut up and see how things are done before you start yapping at things you do not understand.

    July 29, 2011 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  3. chill

    All this purist posturing by both the Tea Party and the liberals is wonderful, but totally divorced from reality. If they don't vote for some extension in the next few days, interest rates and the price of everything we import will be going through the roof. We won't be payign our bills as a country. We'll be deadbeats. And it matters not a whit if we cheat bond-holders, our soldiers, social security recipients, hospitals or small businesses by not paying for goods and services we've contracted for and accepted. The 2011 budget was passed and is the law of the land. It requires borrowing beyond the debt limit. This is a self-inflicted wound that should never have come to this point. Fixing the problems Manchin mentions should be done in the context of the 2012 budget. Period.

    July 29, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
  4. The Real Tom Paine

    Unfortunately, a long-term fix is not possible, since the GOP considers closing corporate tax loopholes to be a burden on the GE's and Halliburtons of this world. The uncertainty could end today, if Boehner would grow a pair and lead. The debt ceiling and the debt are linked ONLY because the GOP linked them when they won control of the House. They have had almost 9 months to comes up with a plan that deals with the problem without causing the markets to roil and hurting people they don't regard as supporters, and they have failed. I have never seen a group of legislators committed to such a deliberate policy of inaction in our history. Other countries have started to pull capital out of the US because they no longer view us as a stable benchmark, and it is all due to the fact that Congress has failed to act. In almost 7 months since being sworn in, fewer than 10 bills have been proposed and voted on. This is a stunning abdication of responsibility by the legislative branch. Manchin's comments are correct in that both kick the can down the road, and its an indictment of both the Tea Party blinkered ideology and Boehnor's incompetance as a leader that we are resorting to short-term measures to keep our credibility from collapsing with our credit rating. Newt Gingrich and Tip O'Neill look like Henry Clay next to Boehner. Reid is no LBJ or Bob Dole, but he looks statesmanlike next to McConnell, who has been inept and gutless at proposing alternatives to the Dems. How much more power does he want to hand over to the president because he lacks the courage to vote for what he knows needs to be done? Unfortunately, band-aides are all the GOP will consider as they try to keep the focus off their inept handling of a routine matter.

    July 29, 2011 08:32 am at 8:32 am |

    Does anything out of west va. suprise anybody....

    July 29, 2011 08:41 am at 8:41 am |
  6. edpeters101

    You can't compare Gov. spending to family spending (they are different). And will people please remember our problem is JOBS, not the deficit..

    July 29, 2011 08:46 am at 8:46 am |
  7. Tommy Boy

    You gotta admire a politician who actually remember's what he promised, and then carries through with it. I like the guy.

    July 29, 2011 08:48 am at 8:48 am |
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