CHARLESTON, W.Va. — For the first time in over three years lawmakers on Capitol Hill have come up with a tentative budget deal and Senator Joe Manchin is happy to see it happen.
“I am pleased that Democrats and Republicans were able to sit down in a room together, negotiate, and arrive at a deal,” said Manchin.
The deal, unveiled Tuesday, would prevent a partial government shutdown, but also begin to unravel hard-fought spending cuts. Manchin said it’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing.
“It’s a start, it’s moving in the right direction and a lot more can be done,” he said.
President Barack Obama has praised the deal calling it “balanced.” However, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle, already Wednesday, were voicing their concerns about the bipartisan deal.
“If you want to be against this bill, I guess you could be and say it didn’t do enough,” he said. “If you want to be against it and say it went too far, I guess you could find that also.”
The proposal would restore about $63 billion in funding that had been cut by the so-called sequester. The increases, according to officials, would be offset by a variety of spending reductions and increased fees elsewhere in the budget totaling around $85 billion over a decade. The plan predicts a deficit cut of $23 billion over the next decade.
Manchin said one of his biggest concerns is that there is nothing about tax reforms.
“I want corporations to pay their fair share to come back to America and create jobs here in America,” he said. “Quit taking your jobs offshore and we could do that with our tax code, because they’ve got to sell in this market.”
Senate Budget Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., and House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis, have expressed their confidence that the deal would pass, but the hesitation and opposition, from both sides, would suggest there is more convincing to do.
Manchin said he believes there is a understanding amongst lawmakers on both sides of the issue that this deal is a good starting point.
“I think they all realize that this is a positive step and it’s moving, it might not be moving exactly like we want it, but it’s still moving in a positive and it might give us a chance now to broker a much larger deal,” he said.
Congress has until Jan. 15 to pass a new budget before another partial government shutdown is triggered.