West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin said last week that Congress needs to deal with the nation’s “crippling debt” by making changes to shore up Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, and other programs he said are “going bankrupt.”
Speaking at a conference, Manchin said he would like to see bipartisan legislation over the next two years to deal with entitlement programs, which he said are facing “tremendous problems.” Some of the trust funds that help support the programs could run out of money in the next 12 years, which would trigger cuts to benefits.
Manchin made his remarks a few days before midterm elections that will decide control of Congress for the next two years. Republicans, who are forecast to take control of the House and are challenging for control of the Senate, are running on promises to rein in government spending.
Some are proposing cutting outlays for Social Security and Medicare, popular but expensive programs that benefit the elderly or disabled and using next year’s deadline to raise the US debt limit to extract concessions from Democrats.
President Joe Biden has vowed to protect the two programs and warned that a standoff over the debt ceiling would unleash economic “chaos.”
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) said in a New York Times interview published last Thursday that Democrats should raise the debt limit before the new Congress convenes in January if Republicans win the House or the Senate to protect Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid from cuts. That almost certainly would require Manchin’s backing.