Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) called out Democrats on Thursday for refusing to negotiate “reasonable and responsible” spending reforms with Republicans amid the debt ceiling standoff.
“My Democratic friends don’t want to say a word about out-of-control spending and are outright refusing to even talk to Republicans about reasonable and responsible reforms,” said Manchin, speaking from the Senate chamber.
In February, the United States reached a $31.4 trillion debt ceiling. The U.S. Treasury announced it could take “extraordinary measures” to keep the country from defaulting on its debt until June, setting up a standoff between Republicans who want spending cuts to offset raising the ceiling and Democrats who are against cuts.
“All we hear is about ‘We have to have a clean debt ceiling.’ Yeah, we’re going to pay our debts. We have to pay our sins of the past, but can’t we at least sit down and discuss how did we get here so fast?” Manchin said.
Initially, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean-Pierre said the ceiling should be raised “without conditions,” as Biden refused to negotiate with the GOP.
Biden laid out a scenario where Republicans would seek to cut social security and Medicare and floated tax hikes to offset the debt as an alternative. However, House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) has made clear those programs are not where Republicans want cuts, and he and the president have met at the White House on the matter.
During the State of the Union address last month, Biden said “some” Republicans wanted to cut social security, prompting boos from GOP members of Congress, with Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) yelling, “Liar!”C-SPAN
Speaking in Florida days later, Biden suggested he was open to negotiating cuts to the upcoming budget with McCarthy in early March.
“Why don’t we just lay out our budgets, you put yours down, I put mine down, and our people sit and compare them. Decide where we can make a compromise if we can make a compromise,” Biden recalled saying during a conversation with the speaker.
Manchin on Tuesday also accused Republicans of refusing “to provide specifics.”