Manchin Says President Has Failed to Lead on Budget

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) “is planning to rip President Barack Obama on his budget proposals in a Senate floor speech Tuesday, a rare rebuke from a freshman Democrat who clearly is worried about the politics of deficit spending as he faces a tough reelection in 2012,” POLITICO reports.

Manchin says the president has failed to lead the way in reducing spending, but he’s also criticizing Republicans for “partisan” and “unrealistic” budget proposals as well.

“Why are we doing all this when the most powerful person in these negotiations — our president — has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he would be willing to fight for?”

Manchin will “vote against both the Senate Democrats’ proposal, which will cut $10.6 billion below current spending levels and the House Republican version of the continuing resolution, which would cut $61 billion.”

Congress has been engaged in “political theater,” Manchin will say in prepared remarks provided to POLITICO. “Why are we voting on partisan proposals that we know will fail, that we all know don’t balance our nation’s priorities with the need to get our fiscal house in order?”

He asks President Obama “to take this challenge head on and propose a compromise plan for dealing with the our nation’s fiscal challenges.”

Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) “said Monday she was unsure of whether she’d vote for her party’s bill.”

“I feel the cuts are not large enough, but there are some cuts, so I don’t know whether I’ll be for it or against it,” she said. “But I know it doesn’t go as far as we need to go.”

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