Sen. Joe Manchin threatened Monday to vote against an increase in the debt limit unless it is tied to a long-term budget plan to reduce the deficit.
The West Virginia Democrat, who has been breaking with his party and pushing for deeper spending cuts, joins many Republicans who have been demanding significant budget cuts before supporting a debt limit increase.
“I have never put together a budget — be it my family’s or as governor — that was based on how much we wanted to spend, but on what we had,” Manchin said. “That is why I will vote against raising the debt ceiling unless the vote is linked to a real budget plan that begins to fix our fiscal mess.”
A debt limit increase will be needed soon to avoid a default and a partial government shutdown, according to the Obama administration.
Manchin’s announcement also ratchets up pressure on the president to take a more active role to resolve the budget standoff on Capitol Hill. On Friday, 64 Senators — 32 from each party — sent a letter to the president urging him to lead a bipartisan effort to shrink the deficit using a combination of entitlement reform, discretionary spending cuts and tax reform.
Vice President Joe Biden waits to conduct a mock swearing-in ceremony with Sen. Brian Schatz, D-Hawaii, in the Capitol's Old Senate Chamber, December 2, 2014. Schatz was sworn in to serve the remainder of his term since he was appointed to the seat after Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, passed away.