Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) highlighted numerous problems facing the United States during an interview over the weekend, problems that have largely erupted under the leadership of President Joe Biden.
Manchin made the remarks during a CBS News interview Sunday with Margaret Brennan on “Face the Nation,” while talking about the recent train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
“It’s time for us to get serious about this. We’re moving many, many products, many more products on the rails and on our roads than we ever did before. And we have a lot of people who don’t want any pipelines. Pipelines would help alleviate a lot of this problem with the oil that we need in our country and we will be using for quite some time to do it safer,” he said. “But out of sight, out of mind. They are thinking, if you don’t have a pipeline, you won’t be using the product. Well, that’s far from the truth. And this is the results of people just not making good decisions. And it’s what’s broken in West Virginia and broken across the country as far as in Washington, the politics.”
Brennan noted that Manchin recently gave a “fiery speech” in the Senate in which he was at odds with the Biden administration and many in the Democrat Party over their “out-of-control spending and are refusing to negotiate.”
Manchin said that the top priority for U.S. officials right now should be getting back “to normal” since the pandemic is over.
“We’ve gone from $3.5 trillion in spending to over $6.2 trillion in spending every year,” Manchin said. “That’s just unacceptable. You’ve got to sit down. Anybody that thinks we don’t have a problem in Washington, anybody that thinks that the politics is not broken in Washington is not living in reality, does not want to face the facts and the truth.”
Manchin said that the U.S. doesn’t “even have a budget anymore” and that Biden is in violation of U.S. law right now because he is a month late in putting out his budget.
“We’ve got a runaway debt. We got inflation that’s killing people,” Manchin said. “We’ve got an unsecured energy. We have a border that’s out of control.”
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Good morning, Brennan. Thank — Margaret, thanks for having me.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to start on that derailment.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Yes.
MARGARET BRENNAN: The president last week praised bipartisan railway safety legislation that would have new rules for trains carrying hazardous materials, increased fines for safety violations, phase in newer cars.
Will you vote for it? Is that sufficient?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Yes, I’m going to be supporting that. We need to do it.
Back in 2015, in Mount Carbon in West Virginia, we had a derailment, 27 cars, tanker cars carrying Bakken oil. It went off the tracks and derailed and exploded and caused a tremendous problem there. And it was very, very dangerous. It could have been a little — a lot worse, if it had been a little farther down the tracks, could have torn up a whole town.
But with that we were recommended that the electronic pneumatic brakes should be something — should be considered that might prevent this, routine maintenance checks and auditing and things of this sort. I don’t think any of that has been done.
And it’s time for us to get serious about this. We’re moving many, many products, many more products on the rails and on our roads than we ever did before. And we have a lot of people who don’t want any pipelines. Pipelines would help alleviate a lot of this problem with the oil that we need in our country and we will be using for quite some time to do it safer.
But out of sight, out of mind. They are thinking, if you don’t have a pipeline, you won’t be using the product. Well, that’s far from the truth. And this is the results of people just not making good decisions. And it’s what’s broken in — in — in West Virginia. And — and…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: … broken across the country as far as in Washington, the politics.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: It’s broken. It needs to be fixed.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want — I want to come back to energy in a moment.
You’re saying it’s broken. You gave a pretty fiery speech a few days ago in the Senate. You’re at odds with the White House and with many in your own party because you are saying that Democrats need to talk about out-of- control spending and are refusing to negotiate.
You did ding Republicans for not offering specific cuts. If you are the dealmaker — you seem to be positioning yourself there — where is it that you see room for negotiation?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, Margaret, first of all, I encourage Speaker Kevin McCarthy.
I was hoping that he would, first of all, take things off the table that doesn’t cause a conflict, but most — most importantly, sit down with the president. And reached out to the White House. They did sit down, had a meeting. I’m encouraging much more of that.
But what we can do is, can’t we get together and just talk about how do we have this much debt accumulated this — in this short of a period of time? Within 10 years, Margaret, we have accumulated the greatest amount of debt in the history of our country in the shortest period of time. Can’t we at least find out what we did and how we expanded?
I know that COVID did so much of it. But, you know, we’re past the COVID…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: … problems. And what we need to do is to get back to normal.
But we’ve gone from $3.5 trillion in spending to over $6.2 trillion in spending every year in the last 10 years. That’s just unacceptable. You’ve got to sit down. Anybody that thinks we don’t have a problem in Washington, anybody that thinks that the politics is not broken in Washington is not living in reality, does not want to face the facts and the truth.
MARGARET BRENNAN: OK.
So — so, what is the truth here? Because Social Security and Medicare make up nearly 40 percent of spending in 2023. If no one is touching those programs, where are you finding the cuts?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, first of all, just do our job on time.
We’ve been told that, if we just had a budget done — we don’t even have a budget anymore. The president is — is a month late in putting his budget out, which will come out next week. But I don’t see the House or the Senate bringing a budget forward. And, basically, by a piece of legislation was passed back in 1985, we’re supposed to have our budgets…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: … from the House and the Senate done by April the 1st.
The president basically submits his in February, and, by September the 30th — I’m told there’s billions and billions of dollars of savings just right there if we just do it on time.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Sure. But that’s not…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: We’re not even doing that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: That — right.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: That’s what I say it’s, not working. That’s…
MARGARET BRENNAN: But that — but…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: But it gets a downward trajection, basically, and capping…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes, but more has to be done…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: How about capping some of the…
MARGARET BRENNAN: … done than that. I mean, you know…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Yes, capping some of the discretionary spending.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You — OK.
Well, there’s a lot to talk about right there. But I want to ask you, what is Joe…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Hey, Mar…
MARGARET BRENNAN: What is Joe Manchin looking for in this deal? Are you looking for your permitting reform, for example, that Democrats didn’t deliver on, though they had told you that you would have an agreement on?
Are you looking for that to be tucked into a potential bill in this agreement that you’re saying has to be struck between Republicans and Democrats?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Well, rather — tucking something in, we’re not trying to hide anything, basically.
If we don’t do permitting, and we don’t have permitting reform in America, we’re not going to meet the challenges and be energy-independent energy- secured. If you’re not energy-secured, you’re definitely not going to be a superpower of the world, and depending on other parts of the world to provide what you won’t do for yourself.
That has to be done. I don’t care what side of the arena you’re on, if you want transmission, if you want pipelines, if you realize we’re going to have a balanced energy proposal. That’s what the Inflation Reduction Act was for, energy security. The administration, this administration has touted that as strictly an environmental bill.
It’s good for the environment, but it’s also very, very necessary for us to have the fossil energy…
MARGARET BRENNAN: Mm-hmm.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: … using it better and cleaner than anywhere in the world to have the security we need. That’s what we need to do. And that’s what they’ve been avoiding.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: You have to have permitting. If not, all this is going to be voided.
MARGARET BRENNAN: I want to ask you about what appears to be some separation between you and the president.
You were quoted a few days ago as saying: “We’re just in different ball games. We’re not even in the same ballpark on many things.”
Are you going to endorse Joe Biden if he runs for reelection?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Oh, there’s plenty of time for the election. This is the problem with America right now. We start an election every time there’s a cycle coming up.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes, he’s the leader of your party.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I — I — no, the bottom line is, let’s see who’s involved. Let’s wait until we see who all the players are. Let’s just wait until it all comes out.
My main purpose right now is to work for my country and my — and my state. That’s my responsibility. I’m not going to make my announcement for anything until the end of the year. I’m not going to make a decision what my political position is going to be or where I’m going to do for my political future.
I won’t do it until the end of the year. I got too much work to do now.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Your political future, you mean the question of whether you personally are going to run for reelection in the Senate in West Virginia.
Your Republican governor, Jim Justice, says he’s going to run for your seat, or he thinks he’s got a good shot at it. Why haven’t you made up your mind?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: There’s too — the bottom line, I got plenty of time to make up my mind. The election is not until November 2024. We don’t even file until January of 2024.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: And to be running and basically — not basically looking at the problems you have, we’ve got a runaway debt. We got inflation that’s killing people.
MARGARET BRENNAN: Yes.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: We’ve got an unsecured energy. We have a border that’s out of control.
You’re telling me we’re in the same ball game or the same ballpark? I don’t think so.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You said let’s see who all the players are when it comes to running for president.
You’ve said you’re not running for president. Is that an open question, though? Who — who do you think…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I didn’t say that. I didn’t say anything about that.
I — the bottom line is, I will make my political decision in December, whatever it may be.
MARGARET BRENNAN: To run for president?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I’m not taking anything off the table, and I’m not put — and I’m not putting anything on the table.
I said I will make a decision in January — at this — at the end of this year.
MARGARET BRENNAN: You’ll make a decision at the end of this year as to…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: Simply that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: … as to who you will endorse for president?
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: What my political future will be, what…
MARGARET BRENNAN: No, but for president.
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: What I will be involved with, how I will be involved.
I will be making — any decisions I make politically will not be done until the end of the year. I’m focused on fixing what’s wrong with Washington. And the politics are so toxic, the more you talk about this party, that party, what candidate and this candidate.
Look at what you have facing you right now. You’ve got inflation. You’ve got, basically, energy. You’ve got these unsecured borders. You’ve got geopolitical unrest. And we’re talking about everything but that.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We are — we have a lot to talk about.
And, Senator Manchin, you’re welcome back.
MARGARET BRENNAN: We got to leave it there, because…
SENATOR JOE MANCHIN: I’m happy to come back, Margaret, any time.