Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), who faces reelection in a Republican-leaning state, on Thursday slammed President Biden for showing “a deficiency of leadership” on a potential national default and applauded Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) for proposing a plan to raise the debt limit.
Manchin, who has feuded with the Biden administration over implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, which Congress passed last year, took the president to task for not sitting down with McCarthy to negotiate fiscal reforms in exchange for raising the debt limit.
“Our elected leaders must stop with the political games, work together and negotiate a compromise. Instead, it has been more than 78 days since President Biden last met with Speaker McCarthy. This signals a deficiency of leadership, and it must change,” Manchin said in a statement.
He said “we are long past time for our elected leaders to sit down and discuss how to solve this impending debt ceiling crisis.”
McCarthy on Wednesday rolled out the GOP’s solo debt limit bill, in part an attempt to bring Biden to the negotiating table. It would lift the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, which would allow the federal government to pay its obligations through March of next year, and contains a number of Republican policy proposals.
Manchin said he does not agree with everything in McCarthy’s proposal, but he praised it as important step to avoid a crisis.
“I applaud Speaker McCarthy for putting forward a proposal that would prevent default and rein in federal spending. While I do not agree with everything proposed, the fact of the matter is that it is the only bill actually moving through Congress that would prevent default,” he said.
McCarthy says his plan would reduce the deficit by an estimated $4.5 trillion over 10 years by capping discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels, cancelling Biden’s student debt-relief plan, and reclaiming unspent COVID-19 relief funds. It would also roll back several aspects of the Democrats’ signature Inflation Reduction Act.
Manchin called on Biden to respond with his own proposal.
“For the sake of the country, I urge President Biden to come to the table, propose a plan for real and substantive spending cuts and deficit reduction, and negotiate now,” he said.
The West Virginian’s criticism of Biden and praise for McCarthy’s plan represents a sharp split with other Senate Democrats.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Thursday dismissed McCarthy’s proposal as a “MAGA wish list” that “has no chance of moving forward in the Senate.”
Schumer, citing the words of one conservative House Republican, said the proposal was in essence the same as the House Freedom Caucus’s plan to cut the deficit.
“That shows you how hard right this wish list truly is,” he said.
“The biggest losers in Speaker McCarthy’s agenda are parents, kids, law enforcement, small business, countless others who work hard every single day to make ends meet,” he said.