The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

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September 23, 2013

Manchin decries budget standoff

After Friday’s 230-189 vote by the House passing a spending bill that calls for defunding Obamacare, questions have been raised whether the bill will pass the Senate and avoid a government shutdown.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin answered the question with a resounding no on Sunday’s “Face the Nation” broadcast on CBS.

“It should be an unacceptable option,” Manchin said. “There’s no way we should be talking about shutting the government down.

“Raising the debt doesn’t fix the debt,” he added.

When speaking of remedying the nation’s finances for the future, Manchin said, “We need real adults at the table working that out.”

Manchin said that he is open to fixing Obamacare, but does not feel that the necessary support for the matter has been present in the Senate in the past three years.

“No one has really been serious about changing it. The blame can be on everybody, Democrats and Republicans,” he said.

Manchin said the Senate could be the “happy retirement home” if everyone just voted “no” all of the time.

Instead, he suggested that the problems actually be fixed, rather than bills only being voted up or down.

“Since I’ve been here, not one of my colleagues has come up to me and said, ‘Joe, here’s a better way to do it; here’s how we can fix this part,’” said Manchin.

“The bottom line is that you’ve got to sit down and say, ‘What’s our goal?’”

More than just reducing the deficit, Manchin believes that the ultimate goal is to rebuild America based on priorities, which should be based on values.

 Manchin cited youth opportunities, workforce education, veteran benefits and military strength to be among his ideas of priorities.

Manchin said that a government shutdown would be “devastating,” as it was when it happened in the past.

“The Republicans are saying we don’t have a revenue problem, we have a spending problem. Democrats are saying we don’t have a spending problem, but a revenue problem. They’re both right and wrong.”

Manchin said the U.S. needs a tax system that people believe in, and an agreement needs to be made on how money from taxes should be spent.   

— E-mail: bunderwood@register-herald.com

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