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U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin laments Congress is divided

February 17, 2012|By RICHARD F. BELISLE | richardb@herald-mail.com

MARTINSBURG, W.Va. — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin lamented Friday night that “it’s hard to get anything done in this Congress” during a friendly gab-fest with about a hundred of the party faithful at the Peking Restaurant.

 The problem these days is Congress is divided, said Manchin, D-W.Va. The members don’t know each other.

“There’s no collegiate atmosphere,” he said. “It’s hard to say no to somebody that you know or care about. But it’s easier to say no if you don’t know somebody.”

 Manchin hammered at the nation’s fiscal problems, saying it won’t be fixed if members of Congress keep blaming each other.

“That didn’t work in West Virginia, so we had to make changes,” he said.

 Manchin said the United States is a rich country. The total global economy stands at around $60 trillion, with America's share at $15 trillion, he said.

“China’s GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is only $6 trillion,” he said.

“In the next 20 years, the world’s GDP will reach $200 trillion. Who’s going to get it? We won’t be able to compete unless we get our own house in order,” he said.

“Our best policy is good government, and we’re not giving you that. Neither side (in Congress) can do that alone. We have to work together.”

 Manchin said he isn’t worried about the November election.

“I’m worried about the next generation,” he said.

 A fiscal conservative, Manchin said he sees the role of government as a partner, “not a provider.”

 Twenty-third Circuit Judge Gina Groh of Berkeley County, whose nomination to a federal judgeship is being held up in Congress, was in the audience Friday.

 “Gina Groh will be your (federal) judge,” Manchin said, pointing her out. Her appointment to the federal bench is being held up “purely by politics,” he said.

 Manchin said he and U.S. Sen. Jay Rockefeller, D-W.Va., are working hard to get Groh's confirmation through the Senate.

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