West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin (D) criticized President Obama in a floor speech Tuesday, taking issue with the president’s leadership in negotiations on to keep the federal government funded through September.
“The truth of the matter is that this debate, as important as it is, will not be decided by House Republicans and Senate Democrats negotiating with each other -- or past each other,” Manchin said. “This debate will be decided when the president leads these tough negotiations. And, right now, that is not happening.”
Manchin said he will oppose the funding measures from both Senate Democrats and House Republicans plan when they come up for votes in the Senate later Tuesday or on Wednesday. He said the Senate Democrats’ plan does not cut enough and slammed the House Republican plan as an “even more flawed measure” that “blindly hacks the budget.”
“Democrats and Republicans are being asked to vote on wildly different proposals for reining in spending,” Manchin said. “Republicans will say Democrats don’t go far enough … Democrats will say Republicans go too far. The truth is, both are right, and both proposals will fail. Worse still, everyone in Congress knows they will fail.”
Manchin’s remarks marked the latest instance in which he has positioned himself at odds with his party’s leadership. A freshman who directly took aim at national Democrats during his campaign, Manchin was the only Democratic senator during last year’s lame-duck session to vote against a procedural measure to repeal the military’s “don’t ask, don’t tell” law. He also voted against a proposal that would have extended the Bush-era tax cuts only for the middle class.
The Republican Senate campaign committee charged that Manchin’s speech was a “transparent political maneuver” and noted that Manchin voted against repealing the national health care law.
“If West Virginians want to know where Joe Manchin actually stands, they need look no further than his rubber-stamp support for each and every one of President Obama’s liberal spending schemes,” said Chris Bond, press secretary for the National Republican Senatorial Committee Press.