As chairmen of the president’s fiscal commission, former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former Clinton Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles produced a report recommending ways to reduce the country's debt and deficit.
The Bowles-Simpson commission recommended limiting future spending growth to half the projected rate of inflation through 2020. It generated revenue from a simplification of the tax code that would eliminate deductions while lowering rates to spur growth. The plan also reformed Social Security by cutting benefits.
The Bowles-Simpson plan did not receive sufficient backing from commission members to be presented to Congress as a legislative measure. Both Bowles and Simpson have predicted that their plan will be revisited as the debt crisis continues.
Manchin has praised Simpson-Bowles in the past, calling for its adoption during the failed deficit-reduction supercommittee negotiations in November.
When asked why the Simpson-Bowles proposal has taken so long to adopt as law, Manchin laughed. "I've only been there a year and it seems like an eternity."
"I can't tell you that," he said.
Lawmakers from both parties have pressed the president to implement Simpson-Bowles.
The so-called Gang of Six, made up of three Senate Republicans and three Senate Democrats, worked on an agreement to put the commission's recommendations into legislation. While the lawmakers agreed to a framework, they did not draft legislative language.
The Democratic senator and former West Virginia governor lamented the inability of Congress to take action on deficit reduction, as well as produce a budget.
"I don't have an excuse. There's no excuse. I would have been impeached as governor. I would have been impeached. I had to produce a budget," Manchin said.
Funding for the federal government expires on Dec. 16, forcing Congress to pass another continuing resolution before that deadline to prevent a government shutdown.