Manchin hits Obama budget: 'Not what the country needs or expects'

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) slammed President Obama's budget proposal Tuesday, saying it doesn't go far enough given the nation's soaring debt. 


"What we have is a budget proposal from the president designed to get our attention, but given our fiscal challenges, it does not go far enough," Manchin said in a statement. "This is not what the country needs or expects." 


Manchin followed other Senate Democrats, including Sens. Jon Tester (Mont.) and Bob Casey (Pa.) is criticizing cuts to the government's low income heating assistance program. 


"If we're serious about focusing on the right priorities, it just doesn't make sense that -- for example -- we would leave seniors out in the cold by cutting funding for heating assistance while we spend $53 billion to build a high speed rail network that few Americans will ever use," said Manchin. 


The Democrat is already a top Republican target ahead of 2012 when he will have to run for a full six-year term. On Monday, the National Republican Senatorial Committee challenged Manchin and seven other Democrats facing reelection next year to denounce Obama's budget plan. 


Manchin is searching for a middle ground on the budget, saying he wants both parties to hammer out a compromise that reins in "out-of-control spending." But like other critiques of the president's plan, his statement was short on suggestions for specific cuts.  


Manchin said that while Obama's plan doesn't go far enough, "Republican budget proposals that do not honor our commitments to our seniors and hard-working families don’t make sense, either."

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