Senator Joe Manchin, a Democrat from West Virginia who is up for reelection in a state that leans Republican, criticized President Biden for a lack of leadership in the face of a potential national default. In contrast, he praised Speaker Kevin McCarthy, a Republican from California, for presenting a plan to increase the debt limit.
Manchin has previously clashed with the Biden administration over the implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act passed by Congress last year. He criticized the President for not meeting with McCarthy to negotiate fiscal reforms in exchange for raising the debt limit. Manchin stated that elected leaders must stop playing political games and work together to negotiate a compromise. He highlighted that it has been over 78 days since Biden last met with Speaker McCarthy, indicating a deficiency of leadership that needs to be addressed.
McCarthy presented the GOP’s debt limit bill, which would increase the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, allowing the federal government to pay its obligations through March of next year. The bill also includes several Republican policy proposals, which Manchin acknowledged he does not agree with everything proposed, but he praised it as an important step to avoid a crisis.
McCarthy’s plan aims to reduce the deficit by an estimated $4.5 trillion over ten years by capping discretionary spending, canceling Biden’s student debt-relief plan, and reclaiming unspent COVID-19 relief funds. It would also roll back several aspects of the Democrats’ signature Inflation Reduction Act.
Manchin called on President Biden to propose his own plan for spending cuts and deficit reduction and negotiate with Republicans. His criticism of Biden and his support for McCarthy’s plan put him at odds with other Senate Democrats. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer dismissed McCarthy’s proposal as a “MAGA wish list” that has no chance of moving forward in the Senate. He stated that the proposal was in essence the same as the House Freedom Caucus’s plan to cut the deficit. Schumer claimed that Speaker McCarthy’s agenda would hurt parents, kids, law enforcement, small business, and countless others who work hard every single day to make ends meet.