U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) reacted strongly to the news that the congressional supercomittee admitted defeat in its mission to find a way to reduce America’s $15 trillion debt.
Manchin issued a statement via email to the Daily News, expressing his dissatisfaction at what he referred to as “the so-called supercommittee.”
“I am truly disappointed that the supercommittee has failed to meet its mandate,” Manchin said, “but this is not a time to admit defeat, and the American people will not accept defeat.”
The supercommittee’s 12 members announced that it had failed to meet its deadline for finding $1.2 trillion reduction in spending on Monday.
“For me and for the people of West Virginia, failure is simply not an option,” Manchin said.
The senator said that there were 140 members of congress who have “stood tall and told the supercommittee that (they were) ready to ‘Go Big.’”
“For the sake of the next generation, we want to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction through long-term entitlement and pro-growth tax reform, using the Bowles-Simpson Fiscal Commission’s report as a framework,” Manchin said.
The Bowles-Simpson Commission, also known as the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, was established in 2010 by President Barack Obama to address the nation’s growing fiscal problems. It was made up of a bipartisan group of 18 members, including current and former lawmakers from both houses of Congress, business and labor executives and former high-ranking administration officials.
Manchin said he urged Obama and the leaders of the House and Senate to support giving a vote on the Bowles-Simpson Report.
The Commission’s Plan, titled “The Moment of Truth,” identified more than $4 trillion in spending reductions through comprehensive individual and corporate tax reform, caps on discretionary spending, long-term entitlement reforms and health care savings.
It was submitted to a vote in the Commission in December of 2010, and received 11 of 18 votes in support. While it was approved by a majority of the Commission’s members, the plan needed 14 votes to pass and be sent to Congress for its consideration.
“I don’t believe that any one of us – any Member of Congress – wants to be part of the first generation that hands off this great country to the next generation in worse shape than we inherited it,” Manchin said. “But America is facing a bleak fiscal picture, with our national debt exceeding $15 trillion for the first time in history and projected to hit $21 trillion in 2021.”
He also said the interest on America’s debt could reach the level of its current defense spending in as soon as a decade.
“We have a path forward and we have an obligation to our constituents to seize the opportunity to do something big,” Manchin said. “I hope that our leadership will allow us that chance.”
On Sunday, Manchin appeared on CBS’s Face the Nation and said that he was “very frustrated.” He also noted that Congress’ approval rating had reached a historic low of 9 percent.
“We are still trying to find the 9 percent who think we are doing a good job,” Manchin said. “I am ashamed. I have to go back and apologize for what we are doing.”
Manchin said that the way Congress is acting is “not the way we ran our state in West Virginia.”
“We didn’t get the successes in West Virginia by playing politics. We are good West Virginians — we love our state,” Manchin said. “We have a great state with great working people and people who are really compassionate.”
He noted America’s overseas spending in Iraq and Afghanistan and reiterated his point of “Let’s rebuild America.”
“You build us a bridge in West Virginia, help us build a school, we won’t blow it up and we won’t burn it down. We’ll be very appreciative,” Manchin said.
While on Face The Nation, Manchin said that the supercommittee could not admit its defeat, as it would end up later doing yesterday.
“Failure cannot be accepted. We can’t fail. We can’t allow anybody to fail.”