ABC’s Matthew Jaffe reports: With under 30 hours left before the government will shut down if both parties cannot agree on a budget deal, one Democratic senator is blaming President Obama for ineffective leadership.
“Is the President showing enough leadership?” ABC News’ Jonathan Karl asked West Virginia Democrat Joe Manchin today.
“Ah, it’s a different form of leadership,” Manchin replied.
“What do you mean?”
“You know I’m not going to criticize,” Manchin said, before adding, “It’s not what I’m used to and it’s not what I ‘vet seen to be effective from my vantage point.”
“Is it working?” Karl asked.
“It doesn’t seem to be working because I think the President’s the only one who looks at all 50 states,” Manchin replied. “There’s not going to be a delegate or congressperson or senator that’s going to see all 50 states the way one person sees it. I’m going to look at what’s good for West Virginia and what hurts West Virginia more if you do this or that and I’m going to defend it, as I’m responsible to do and as I’m expected to do. And everyone else the same.”
“There’s one person who can say wait a minute, this is what’s good for all America,” Manchin continued. “This is who we are as Americans. These are our values as Americans and this is where we draw the line. And the public will speak. They’ll have a chance to speak at the next election. But frankly I don’t care and I’m not worried about the next election. If we don’t get our financial house in order and our next generation isn’t going to have a chance.”
It’s not the first time Manchin has criticized the White House.
In early March he first broke with his party in the budget debate, voting against the Democrats’ spending proposal and arguing that the president “has failed to lead this debate.” Then a few weeks later he said he will vote against raising the debt ceiling – as the administration has requested – unless his vote is linked to a plan to fix the nation’s soaring deficits.
Manchin today said that if the government shuts down he will return his salary to the US Treasury, calling on the president, the vice president, and other members of Congress to do the same.