In consecutive appearances on NBC’s “Meet the Press” and CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Manchin called out members of his own party who are refusing to negotiate with GOP leaders. Manchin said the debt ceiling fight presents an opportunity to address the dysfunction around the federal budget process and make changes.
“I think it’s a mistake,” Manchin said on CNN of the Biden administration’s refusal to negotiate. “This is a democracy that we have. We have a two-party system. And we should be able to talk and find out where our differences are. And if they are irreconcilable, then you have to move on from there and let the people make their decisions.”
Manchin also blasted Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin (D-IL), who said Biden should not negotiate.
“We just respectfully disagree,” Manchin said. “[E]very American has to live within a budget. If they don’t, they’re in trouble financially. Every business that is successful has to live within a budget. Every state has to live within a budget. Shouldn’t the federal government have some guardrails that say, ‘hey, guys, you’re getting over — you’re overreaching here and you’re overspending?’”
During his appearance on Meet the Press, Manchin pointed out that for his entire tenure in the Senate, the budget process has been broken.
“I’ve been here 12 years,” he said. “We haven’t had a budget yet.”
“There’s nothing that holds us accountable,” he continued. “Nothing at all. We can say, ‘oh, we’re gonna do it,’ but as I’ve said before, 12 years, we haven’t had a budget. That’s ridiculous.”
“The process isn’t working,” he went on. “How come we’re not held accountable to have the appropriations bills done at a certain time before the end of the fiscal year… you know what happens, it rolls over into an omnibus bill at the end, everything’s thrown into it and, ‘Okay here. We got it guys. Thats it.’ It makes no sense.”
Manchin said that the debt ceiling increase would pass anyway because Congress could not risk the financial standing of the dollar.
“With that being said, how do you get to it, how do you use this moment to get to responsibility?” said Manchin, pointing out that interest payments on the debt almost match the U.S. defense budget.