Manchin still wants compromise as lawmakers continue to clash over debt ceiling

West Virginia’s senator is at the center of the controversy as lawmakers head closer to the debt deadline.
Published: Oct. 6, 2021 at 3:59 PM EDT
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WASHINGTON (Gray DC) - Democrats and Republicans remain locked in a political game of chicken over borrowing more money to payback old loans – jeopardizing the full faith and credit of the nation.

For the moment, both sides appear more concerned about 2022 election implications than avoiding an economic crisis projected to arrive in just 12 days.

“We are not going to default as a country,” said Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV).

Surrounded by reporters, Manchin said it’s time leaders of both parties meet on the high road. But he offered no policy or process specifics about what that path forward looks like, other than to say he won’t re-write the lawmaking rulebook to get it done.

“Work this out,” he said. “This should not be a crisis.”

Manchin himself is one of several moderate Democrats taking a stand against the scope and cost of social safety net and environmental reforms floated by the president and backed by the majority of their party. He argues compromise is possible, at least, on his long-standing terms:

  • Manchin’s on-board with making the wealthiest and large corporations pay their fair share.
  • He said Medicare should negotiate prescription drug prices like Medicaid and the V.A. system already do.
  • He said he supports new early education efforts and Support early education efforts and additional help for the elderly.
  • Manchin also made it clear he wants new spending limited to one-point-five trillion dollars over 10 years.

“These are things we can all agree on,” Manchin said.

Manchin maintained adding dental and vision coverage to Medicare and new environmental regulations on dirty energy are non-starters.

“I’m not going to take any questions because I think my statement will speak for itself,” Sen. Manchin told the press as he opened his comments.

Late this afternoon, Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) suggested it’s Sen. Manchin who is refusing to compromise on the party’s agenda.

The Vermont progressive said after months of negotiations, he still doesn’t truly know what his West Viginia colleague wants.

“We need some specificity here, it’s not good enough to be vague,” Sanders said. “You want to cut child-care, how much do you want to cut child care? You want to cut climate? Cut climate, how much do you want to do that? Tell us with some specificity what you want.”

Sanders, who lost the 2020 party primary to President Joe Biden, said he has already compromised dramatically, saying that’s how he got all but two of his Democratic colleagues on-board. Now, he said it’s Manchin’s turn to do the same.

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