In an impassioned speech on the Senate floor this morning, Sen. Joe Manchin (D., W.Va.) rebuked President Obama for sitting on the sidelines in the debate over federal spending. “Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations — our president — has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?” Manchin asked.
The freshman senator slammed both parties for proposing spending plans that are “extremely partisan and unrealistic.” The Democratic plan to cut $4.7 billion “doesn’t go nearly far enough [and] utterly ignores our fiscal reality,” he said. “It continues to sail forward as if there’s no storm on the horizon.”
But, he said, the House Republican plan (H.R. 1) to cut $61 billion was “even more flawed . . . [and] blindly hacks the budget with no sense of our priorities or our values as a country.”
But ultimately, Manchin blamed the president for the sloppy state of the negotiations. “This debate will be decided when the president leads these tough negotiations, and right now that is not happening,” he said. “The bottom line is this — the president is the leader of this great nation, and when it comes to an issue of significant national importance, the president must lead.”