Manchin: ‘We have got to get a budget’

WASHINGTON, W.Va. — U.S. Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) says he is going to do what he can do on Capitol Hill to chart out deficit reduction for the U.S. government as part of a long term budget plan.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV)

“We can blame people until the cows come home.  We have got to get a budget.  We’ve got to have a downward trajectory,” said Manchin on Friday’s MetroNews “Talkline.”

“By 2025 or 2030, our goal should be a balanced budget amendment.”

This week’s agreement to reopen the government and avoid default set up a House-Senate bipartisan group of lawmakers to work to develop a long term budget plan.  The co-chairs of that group are Senate Budget Committee Chair Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

A report is due to Congress by Dec. 13.

At the same time, Manchin said a parallel bipartisan group of U.S. Senators will work on an alternative plan.  “We’re keeping a group on the side together.  We’re working with Erskine Bowles. We’re working with all the different think tanks.  We’re going to have a good, solid plan,” he said.

Without a budget agreement, the current spending bill, approved this week, will run out on Jan. 15.  The U.S. government is now also on track to hit the debt ceiling by Feb. 7.

Manchin said a balanced budget plan, with a reduced or eliminated deficit, would help avert the kind of shutdown the federal government saw for 16 days this month.

“I know I can’t do it in five and, maybe, not even ten years,” he said.  “But, by golly, if we set our goal to that then you wouldn’t have to have the debt ceiling fight.”

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