Dem Sen. Joe Manchin bucks party on debt limit

Once again freshman Democratic Senator Joe Manchin of West Virginia is bucking his own party. This time around it has to do with the national debt limit.

Manchin said this morning in a speech at University of Charleston in West Virginia that he will vote against raising the federal debt ceiling unless there is a budget plan to address the nation's deficit problems and financial mess.

"I have never put together a budget - be it my family's or as governor - that was based on how much we wanted to spend, but on what we had," Manchin said, according to prepared remarks released by his office. "That is why I will vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the vote is linked to a real budget plan that begins to fix our fiscal mess. We cannot make budgets based on the next election; they must be based on the next generation."

You may remember earlier this month, Manchin took to the Senate floor and repeatedly criticized President Obama for failing to lead the on-going budget negotiations.

Manchin, who served as West Virginia's governor until last November, was elected in a special election to fill the last two years of the term of deceased Senator Robert Byrd. Manchin must run again in 2012 in what could be a tough re-election bid.

Manchin's remarks came as part of a weeklong tour of his home state of West Virginia called "Our Values, Our Priorities." During the remainder of the week he will address topics concerning families and children, seniors, small businesses and energy independence.

"In the coming weeks, we will face difficult budget decisions. I know it will not be easy," Manchin told students. "I know that it will take compromise. I know it will be partisan and difficult. I know that everyone will have to give up something and no one will want to relinquish anything. But we cannot ignore the fiscal Titanic of our national debt and deficit."

The Treasury Department recently announced it expects the federal government to reach its current debt limit of $14.3 trillion between April 15, 2011 and May 31, 2011. Congress would have to approve a higher ceiling; otherwise the nation could default on its debts.

  • John Nolen

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