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Making commonsense cutbacks

From The Hill to the mountains

June 20, 2011
Sen. Joe Manchin

With the country facing a death spiral of debt, it is clear that we must make difficult choices to improve our nation's fiscal future. This week, the Senate took a historic step toward fiscal responsibility by ending $6 billion in subsidies to the ethanol industry. Ending these subsidies will not only help reduce families' food costs, but our skyrocketing deficit.

In a strong display of bipartisanship, Republicans and Democrats came together on the Senate floor helping end these costly subsidies by a vote of 73-27. With all the challenges our nation faces, it was a welcome victory for common sense. Families in West Virginia and across this nation are watching every penny, so I am encouraged that the Senate voted this week to do the same.

Now that the Senate has taken this important step, it is time to craft a responsible energy plan that uses all of our vast domestic resources like natural gas, coal, wind, solar, hydro, geothermal and biofuels without unaffordable subsidies. At a time of exploding budget deficits and skyrocketing debt, our country must have commonsense priorities. When it comes to energy whether it's ethanol or oil subsidies we should only consider providing government aid when the market price falls below production costs.

Of course, the ethanol measure still needs to pass in the House and win the President's signature and I strongly urge the Republican leadership in the House and the President to make this commonsense measure a law.

Aside from ending unaffordable subsidies, we learned again this week that Washington must do more to end wasteful spending. In testimony to the House Ways and Means Committee, Inspector General of the Social Security Administration Patrick P. O'Carroll Jr. testified that the total wasteful spending across all federal agencies jumped $15 billion from 2009 to 2010, to $125 billion.

It is shocking that dozens of federal agencies misspent billions last year and that wasteful spending actually increased dramatically. Such waste is outrageous to West Virginians and I am committed to doing everything in my power to address it.

West Virginians, and all Americans, expect their government to do everything it can to ferret out waste and fraud. The fact that we wasted more in 2010 than 2009 is appalling, and should enrage every American who is watching every penny of their own budgets, and expects their government to do the same.

The tens of billions of federal waste demonstrates, once again, that before anyone starts slashing and burning critical programs like Head Start or Social Security, we should work in a bipartisan fashion to attack and eliminate this massive waste, fraud and abuse.

We have a lot of work to do, but this is exactly why I came to Washington to sound the alarm when government spending is out of control and then to be a voice for commonsense to put our fiscal house in order.

If you have commonsense ideas, priorities and concerns that you would like to share with me, please don't hesitate to call my office at 304-342-5855 or email me at common_sense@manchin.senate.gov.

 
 
 

 

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