What to Know in Washington: Manchin Wants Deal on Debt Ceiling

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Sen. Joe Manchin, a moderate Democrat, said he wants his party to seek a deal with Republicans to avert a catastrophic US debt default, a position that puts him squarely at odds with President Joe Biden.

The two parties are currently at a standoff over the debt ceiling, which threatens to upend financial markets sometime after early June, when the US may default on a payment obligation.

Manchin (W.Va.) said he already discussed a possible compromise with Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), whose fractious caucus has sought to extract concrete spending cuts and a balanced budget plan in exchange for any increase in the debt ceiling.

Photographer: Al Drago/Bloomberg
Manchin at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on Nov. 29, 2022.

Manchin, speaking to Fox Business in Davos, Switzerland, where he’s attending the World Economic Forum, said he wants to package a debt ceiling increase with votes to create special commissions to examine shoring up the Social Security and Medicare trust funds, as well as another intended to reduce the overall US debt.

“We have to work together. It has to be bipartisan and it has always been bipartisan as far as the debt ceiling,” Manchin said. “I think what we have to do is realize we have a problem, we have a debt problem.”

Manchin said he supports the Trust Act, a proposal by Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) to impanel commissions to recommend solutions to the eventual insolvency of the Medicare and Social Security trust funds. Current projections are that Social Security will not be able to pay full benefits after 2035 and Medicare after 2028, without either changes to the benefit structure or increased revenue. Erik Wasson details Manchin’s pitch.

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Around the Administration


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Religious Accommodation Test on Thin Ice With Justices’ New Case

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To contact the reporters on this story: Giuseppe Macri in Washington at gmacri@bgov.com; Brandon Lee in Washington at blee@bgov.com

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