Manchin says it would be 'mistake' not to negotiate with Republicans on debt ceiling

 January 24, 2023

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) said he disagrees with the White House about the debt ceiling, telling CNN host Dana Bash on Sunday that he thinks it would be a mistake not to do so.

The White House has demanded that Republicans commit to raising the debt ceiling "without conditions" in response to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) stating he will not do so.

"I think it’s a mistake because we have to negotiate. This is a democracy that we have. We have a two-party system, if you will. We should be able to talk and find out where our differences are," Manchin said. "Using the debt ceiling and holding it hostage hasn’t worked in the past."

Wasteful spending can be cut

Manchin did not agree with Republican threats to cut Social Security and Medicare if Democrats did not negotiate, however. Currently, 60% of retired West Virginians depend on Social Security and Medicare.

Instead, Manchin wants to see "wasteful spending" cut, and said both Democrats and Republicans are to blame.

"Basically it’s wasteful spending, everyone believes that," he argued. "My goodness, $31.4 trillion and we throw caution to the wind and to blame the Republicans, the Republicans to blame the Democrats who is at fault. Everybody's at fault. We don’t have a process. I’ve been there 12 years. No budget."

Manchin is up for re-election in 2024. He most recently voted for over a trillion dollars of additional spending in the form of the Infrastructure Act and the badly named Inflation Reduction Act.

Bipartisan proposal

Rep. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Rep. Josh Gottheimer (D-NJ) have come up with a bipartisan proposal that triggers spending cuts when a ratio of the total debt to the nation's total economic output is exceeded. 

Fitzpatrick said last week that defaulting on the U.S. debt is "off the table," and that something needs to be done to bring the debt back under control.

“When you have a child that has a spending problem, you do two things: you pay their bills, and you take away their credit card," he said. 

Meeting scheduled

Despite Biden saying the White House would not negotiate about the debt ceiling, he and McCarthy have a meeting scheduled to discuss that very thing, along with other issues at hand as Republicans retook power in the House.

Democrats including Sen. Tim Kaine (VA) and Gottheimer expressed confidence in the planned meeting.

Kaine said the meeting was a "good idea" and Gottheimer was "optimistic" about the meeting.

It is bound to be a long process to reach agreement about how to proceed, but cutting the waste should not get left out of the discussion.

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