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Manchin Blasts Both Parties Over Credit Downgrade - Warns of Looming Fiscal Fight

By Jake Beardslee · August 3, 2023

In brief…

  • Senator Joe Manchin issued sharp criticism of both parties following Fitch's credit downgrade earlier this week, calling the situation a "historic failure of leadership."
  • Manchin warned of a looming fiscal fight with a September 30th deadline to fund the government.
  • The senator lamented partisan gridlock, saying the only bipartisan cooperation lately has been on spending increases.
  • He said fiscal responsibility is the only way to restore economic confidence.
Joe Manchin and Joe Biden. The West Virginia Senator (left) denounced both parties for fiscal irresponsibility followng Fitch's credit downgrade.  The White House/Wikimedia

Senator Joe Manchin issued scathing criticism of both Republicans and Democrats today following Fitch’s decision to downgrade the U.S. credit rating earlier this week.

The independent-minded West Virginia Democrat called the downgrade a “stark warning that cannot be ignored,” saying it “represents a historic failure of leadership by both political parties and the executive branch.”

“We must act now to fully fund the government and address our national debt before we wake up to a future where America’s superpower status is in jeopardy, and we have lost the confidence of our allies around the world,” Manchin said in today’s press release.

Fitch lowered the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ Tuesday, citing a “steady deterioration in standards of governance over the last 20 years, including on fiscal and debt matters.”

Manchin warned that Congress enters “a crucial month” when it returns from summer recess as it faces a September 30th deadline to avert a government shutdown.

“Now, more than ever, it is time for elected leaders from both parties to work together and send a clear message to the world that we will take the necessary fiscal and budgetary steps to restore our credit rating and keep America’s economy strong for this generation and the next,” Manchin stated.

The senator has long voiced concern over U.S. fiscal policy, calling on colleagues from both sides of the aisle to get the nation’s fiscal house back in order. Manchin referred to a recent conversation with Fitch CEO Paul Taylor, who told him “nothing’s gonna happen” despite the first downgrade since Standard & Poor’s 2011 demotion.

Markets appeared rattled by news of the downgrade that came after Congress raised the debt ceiling in June to avoid default. Manchin lamented that “the only thing that’s keeping us working in a bipartisan way is if we can spend more money.”

With his 2024 re-election plans up in the air, the centrist Democrat has left open the possibility of a presidential bid.

He urged lawmakers to restore confidence domestically and internationally through bipartisan fiscal action.