Sen. Manchin: We have a spending and revenue problem

Democrat urges caution on spending ahead of State of the Union


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 11, 2013. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Now to a Democrat who has had enough and urges the president to use caution and not lightly dismiss what is hiappening here, West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin on what he wants to hear out of the president tomorrow night.

First off, Senator, do you think we have a spending problem?

SEN. JOE MANCHIN, D - W.V.: Neil, I think we have not only a spending problem. We have a revenue problem. They're both right and they're wrong.

If you're basing it off of GDP, revenue to GDP is as low as it's been for five, six decades. Spending is as high as it's ever been for the five or six decades. What we got figure out is working with each other, as Democrats and Republicans, by putting our country first. If we are going to have new revenue without raising taxes, but closing loopholes, growing this economy, then shouldn't the revenue go towards paying down debt?

If we agree as Democrats and Republicans that any new dollar of revenue, 70 cents will go to paying down the debt and let's say the other 30 cents would go towards infrastructure, is it something we could agree on?


CAVUTO: Do you think your party could agree to that, even a ration like that, 70 to 30 debt to bridges?

MANCHIN: I would hope so. It just makes so much sense.

CAVUTO: Yes, I don't think so, Senator. I don't see it. I don't see anything in your party's history that even hints at it.

MANCHIN: Well, we need to try.

I have been talking about friends on the other aisle, my Republican friends, and saying if we can get a group together and the revenue basically comes from closing loopholes and we do have a few more dollars coming in, could we agree on how it's being spent? Because people that have means, I talk to a lot, and they say we don't mind giving more to the government if they would spend it the right way.

So the other thing is we have to control our spending. There's two things government can do, Neil. They can spend your money or invest it. We have done a poor job of investing, but, boy, they have been gangbusters on spending.

CAVUTO: Well, you're right about that. And both parties are to blame in the past, whether it was the Republicans when they were in charge. They spent willy-nilly. This is a pox on both parties' houses.

Having said that, it's your party dominates the White House, it's your party that dominates the Senate, and it is your party that I think will be the responsibility to get serious about this in the brief window we have to get serious about it. Do you have any indication from some of the more liberal members you talk to, Senator, that they are?

MANCHIN: Well, if you talk to those on the far left or the far right, they're pretty much entrenched in where they're going to be.

I just hope there's enough of us in the middle that can put our country first. That's why I'm a member of No Labels. Myself and Jon Huntsman are national chairpersons of this. It's problem solvers, it's bringing a venue to where people can sit down and talk of differences and find solutions, do problem solving. We have to do more of that, and I'm talking -- I'm not giving up. This is a great country, it's the greatest country on Earth. It's been good to me and my family and I want to make sure the next generation of my children and grandchildren have the same opportunities. If we keep spending at these levels, they won't.

CAVUTO: Well, you're to be commended at that.

And, by the way, Governor Huntsman will be on my Fox Business show tonight to explore this in greater detail and espouse sort of this No Label approach to how you tackle this. But in the meantime, neither party really does.


CAVUTO: Do you think we're missing an opportunity that by next year at this time, knee deep in planning for the midterm election and everyone focused on the next presidential election -- I can't believe that -- but that we're going to miss an opportunity to get this under control and we will be trillions more in debt?

MANCHIN: Well, Neil, I have been from day one, since I arrived here, a few years ago, I have been totally committed in supporting the Bowles- Simpson approach, a big fix approach.


MANCHIN: We put sequestering in place as a penalty against ourselves. No one ever thought it would go into effect because we thought for sure we would all come into agreement and understand what a difficult and serious financial problem we have. They let that go by. Now they're saying well we can't take sequestering serious. Well, the bottom line is sequestering is serious.


CAVUTO: Yes, but you guys changed -- not you, Senator, but you changed the rules. If you don't the rules, well, we don't like that rule. Let's change it.

MANCHIN: I'm not changing the rules. I'm not voting to change the rules.



MANCHIN: Well, both sides. I'm hearing both sites don't want sequestering.

CAVUTO: I hear you. I hear you. I hear you. Sir...


MANCHIN: And what I think they should do is basically figure out a way to get some flexibility so it's not as severe.

CAVUTO: Well, you might be right. But I'm trying to come up with these superhero solutions, Senator. I have been a little busy. I will try to get this right.

But, seriously, sir, it's always good having you. Thank you very much.

MANCHIN: Thanks for having me, Neil.

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