Joe Manchin slams Biden for "deficiency of leadership," praises McCarthy debt plan

West Virginia "maverick" applauds Kevin McCarthy's proposal as "the only bill actually moving through Congress"

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Staff Writer

Published April 20, 2023 5:32PM (EDT)

Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)
Senator Joe Manchin (D-WV) (Pete Marovich/Getty Images)

Sen. Joe Manchin, the West Virginia Democrat who has significantly impeded President Biden's legislative agenda, criticized the president for showing a "deficiency of leadership" by declining to meet with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy about a potential deal to avert default on the national debt. Manchin's statement came in a Twitter post Thursday morning

"Our elected leaders must stop with the political games, work together and negotiate a compromise. Instead, it has been more than 78 days since President Biden last met with Speaker McCarthy. This signals a deficiency of leadership, and it must change," Manchin, who previously feuded with the Biden administration over the Inflation Reduction Act passed last year, wrote. 

"The fact is we are long past time for our elected leaders to sit down and discuss how to solve this impending debt ceiling crisis," he added.

Manchin also applauded McCarthy's proposed plan, rolled out on Wednesday, as "the only bill actually moving through Congress that would prevent default." McCarthy has offered to raise the debt limit by $1.5 trillion, which would allow the federal government to pay its obligations through next March, in exchange for capping discretionary spending at fiscal 2022 levels to reduce the deficit by an estimated $4.5 trillion over a decade, The Hill reports. The bill also seeks to undo several of the Biden administration's achievements, including canceling planned student-debt relief, recovering unspent COVID-19 relief funds and rolling back parts of the Inflation Reduction Act.

"I applaud Speaker McCarthy for putting forward a proposal that would prevent default and rein in federal spending. While I do not agree with everything proposed, the fact of the matter is that it is the only bill actually moving through Congress that would prevent default," Manchin said, while urging Biden to respond with a proposal of his own.

"For the sake of the country, I urge President Biden to come to the table, propose a plan for real and substantive spending cuts and deficit reduction, and negotiate now," he said.  

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Manchin appears to be alone among Senate Democrats in expressing openness to McCarthy's proposal. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer called the plan a "MAGA wish list" with no chance of moving forward. 

Other Democrats looked toward Manchin's 2024 race, when he'll be up for re-election in a state now dominated by Republicans.

"WV still isn't going to re-elect you, no matter how much you slam the president. It's crazy you still haven't figured this out," Former Democratic party chairman Chris D. Jackson tweeted in response to the statement.

One West Virginia user suggested a sense of exhaustion with Manchin's behavior. also weighed in in the replies, describing their disappointment with Manchin.

Another Twitter user indulged in indirect mockery, responding to Manchin with a screenshot of an unrelated tweet from NPR about the annual convention of the World Clown Association.

Others suggested that Manchin was eager to seek corporate donations for his re-election campaign.

By Tatyana Tandanpolie

Tatyana Tandanpolie is a staff writer at Salon. Born and raised in central Ohio, she moved to New York City in 2018 to pursue degrees in Journalism and Africana Studies at New York University. She is currently based in her home state and has previously written for local Columbus publications, including Columbus Monthly, CityScene Magazine and The Columbus Dispatch.

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Brief Joe Biden Joe Manchin Kevin Mccarthy News Politics