Manchin said Obama should have pushed forward on the proposal presented last year by his National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, co-chaired by Alan Simpson and Erskine Bowles.
“That takes leadership from the top, we can’t to it do it from down here,” Manchin said. “I can assure you there are 45 in the Senate who want this, about 100 in the House who want that, split evenly between the parties. … We just need leadership to get things going.”
Manchin also called on Obama to “step forward” when the deficit-reduction supercommittee appeared poised to fail in reaching a solution last month. Republicans and Democrats are currently in a rush to negotiate extensions of the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits before they expire at the end of the year, as well as pass a spending bill to fund the government into the new year.
Obama has rejected criticism that he has not been hands-on in often gridlocked negotiations between the two parties over economic issues.
“I think the problem has to do with, the other side made it a strategy – and they’ve been very explicit about this – whatever Obama’s for, ‘we’re gonna be against, because the economy’s bad and we figure the president would usually be held more accountable than we are,’” Obama told Washington state’s KIRO 7 TV on Tuesday.
Responding to a call to “spend more time with members of Congress,” by Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.), Obama told the local station: “Oh, we meet with them all the time.”