Manchin criticizes Biden for placing ‘ideological agenda’ over debt ceiling negotiations

Joe Manchin, Mike Round
Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Cybersecurity Chair Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., together with ranking member Sen. Mike Rounds, R-S.D., question witnesses during a hearing to examine enterprise cybersecurity to protect the Department of Defense information networks, Wednesday, March 29, 2023, on Capitol Hill in Washington. Manuel Balce Ceneta/AP

Manchin criticizes Biden for placing ‘ideological agenda’ over debt ceiling negotiations

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Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) hit out against President Joe Biden on Wednesday, accusing the president of pushing his “ideological agenda” rather than meeting with members of Congress to address inflation and the looming debt ceiling crisis.

In an op-ed published by the Wall Street Journal, Manchin criticized Biden over his administration’s implementation of the Inflation Reduction Act, a landmark bill the West Virginia Democrat helped construe to reduce the country’s deficit and promote energy security. However, Manchin accused Biden administration officials of abusing the Inflation Reduction Act to increase spending levels unilaterally, calling the act a “betrayal.”

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“While all parties have a responsibility to negotiate in good faith, recent actions make clear to me that the Biden administration is determined to pursue an ideological agenda rather than confront the clear and present danger that debts and deficits pose to our nation,” Manchin wrote. “Instead of implementing the law as intended, unelected ideologues, bureaucrats and appointees seem determined to violate and subvert the law to advance a partisan agenda that ignores both energy and fiscal security.”

Manchin specifically accused the Biden administration of ignoring stipulations in the Inflation Reduction Act to expand fossil fuel energy by redefining “domestic energy” to align with its own clean energy initiatives.

“The administration is attempting at every turn to implement the bill it wanted, not the bill Congress actually passed,” he wrote. “Ignoring the debt and deficit implications of these actions as the time nears to raise the debt ceiling isn’t only wrong, it’s policy and political malpractice.”

The West Virginia senator urged Biden to reverse those actions, offering a two-step plan to rein in the so-called “extremism.”

First, Manchin called on Biden to meet with “fiscally minded” Republicans and Democrats to negotiate a solution to the debt ceiling crisis, urging the president to end his stalemate with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) to come to an agreement. Biden and McCarthy initially met in January to discuss the debt ceiling, but the pair have not met since — with Biden maintaining he would not negotiate further until Republicans release their budget for the next fiscal year.

Manchin criticized Biden for his refusal to meet, urging the president to find areas in his own budget proposal to negotiate.

“While we can all acknowledge that raising the debt limit is an absolute necessity and Republicans shouldn’t threaten otherwise, are we seriously to believe there is no room to negotiate?” Manchin wrote. “Does the federal government operate so efficiently and effectively that there truly isn’t a dollar of waste, fraud or abuse? Let’s get serious.”

Manchin also pressed Biden to instruct his administration officials to implement the Inflation Reduction Act “as written” rather than interpreting its provisions to advance their own agenda.

“The president has the power, today, to direct his administration to follow the law, as well as to sit down with congressional leaders and negotiate meaningful, serious reforms to the federal budget,” Manchin wrote. “Failing to do so may score political points with left-wing partisans, but generations of Americans will ultimately pay the price.”

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Biden responded to Manchin’s criticisms on Thursday morning, noting the president and senator share a “strong and productive relationship.” However, Biden did not indicate whether he would call for a meeting with congressional leaders.

“We are proud of the Inflation Reduction Act and our shared goals it achieves — promoting America’s energy security, strengthening supply chains, creating good-paying manufacturing jobs, and investing in energy communities and towns across America that have been left behind,” the White House said in a statement.

© 2023 Washington Examiner

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