We in West Virginia have more common sense in our little fingers than they do in the whole city of Washington, D.C. It's time to bring some of the common sense we have here in the Mountain State to Capitol Hill.
The common sense that is so needed in Washington can be found here in West Virginia, where we live our lives in a balance when times are tough, we cut back. Most people in the country do the same and Washington needs to start.
I'm focused on proving to Washington that working together on a commonsense agenda isn't as hard as the cynics say, whether it's cutting our deficit and achieving fiscal responsibility, creating jobs, focusing on our energy independence or keeping our promises to seniors and veterans.
That's why this week, I was proud to work on a number of commonsense efforts to bring people together.
I started with my fellow Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Tom Carper (D-Delaware). Along with other senators from both parties, we introduced a bill that would help Washington rein in out-of-control spending and reduce our deficit. I share the deep concerns that West Virginians have expressed about our rising debt, and I strongly believe that Washington should live within its means - just like West Virginians do.
The "Reduce Unnecessary Spending Act of 2011" gives the President the authority to single out and remove wasteful spending and other non-entitlement spending without affecting Medicare and Social Security. The bottom line is: the legislation would provide another tool in our toolbox to balance our federal budget. And with the fiscal year 2012 deficit projected to be nearly $1.5 trillion, we're going to need all the tools we have to get our nation's financial house in order.
As part of my commonsense agenda, I also joined with a bipartisan group of 73 members of the House and Senate on another issue that is just common sense: making sure that the men and women who protect this country have the best medical care for traumatic brain injuries. In our letter to Defense Secretary Robert Gates, we expressed our grave concern that service members returning from the battlefield are unable to receive therapies for traumatic brain injury unless they have a specific waiver. The treatment known as cognitive rehabilitation helps with thinking and perception and has been widely recognized as a proven treatment for traumatic brain injury by experts and groups including the National Institutes of Health, the Brain Injury Association of America, and the National Academy of Neuropsychology.
As West Virginians, you know that my focus on commonsense bipartisanship didn't start with these efforts, and they won't end there. I came to Washington to be an effective leader who fixes things, and I hope I will set a friendly example for my colleagues. The simple fact is, an idea is not good or bad just because it came from a Democrat or a Republican. Politics shouldn't ever prevent us from taking commonsense opportunities to build a better and stronger America for our children and our grandchildren.
In West Virginia, we always understood the importance of putting politics aside, listening to each another, and developing commonsense solutions to the problems we face all to put our great state first.
As always, please share your ideas, priorities and concerns with me firstname.lastname@example.org. And please join me in person the next time I hold one of my "Coffee and Common Sense" events in your neighborhood. More information is available on my website manchin.senate.gov.