CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va, criticized his fellow members of Congress on Thursday for going out of session until after Election Day without passing any major budget legislation.
"We have had 12 continuing resolutions in the two years since I have been here. That is not fixing anything," Manchin said during a telephone news conference.
Before the Senate goes out of session this weekend, it is likely to pass the 13th continuing resolution to extend the federal budget. The House of Representatives is also set to adjourn in the next few days.
Manchin said he will vote against the continuing resolution whenever it comes up before the Senate adjourns.
Manchin believes the federal budget has deteriorated steadily since Bill Clinton left the presidency in January 2001, after he served two terms.
"We got totally off track, with tax cuts, two wars and the expansion of prescription drug benefits for Medicare recipients - none of which were paid for," Manchin said during his speech on the Senate floor.
"The 10-year $5.6 trillion surplus forecast in 2001 has become a debt of more than $16 trillion. That's a swing of almost $22 trillion in one decade. It's simply mind-boggling."
Manchin criticized "sequestering" proposals, which he said would cut all federal programs -- discretionary and non-discretionary programs -- equally.
In August 2011, Manchin voted for the Budget Control Act, which Congress passed after months of wrangling over the federal budget and the first credit downgrade for the United States in decades.
The agreement allowed Congress to raise the debt ceiling, which the Republican-led House had refused to do unless it was coupled with billions of dollars in spending cuts. Manchin also voted against raising the debt ceiling limit earlier in 2011, saying the country needed a long-term financial fix.
Under the Budget Control Act, if a debt committee made up of members of Congress did not reach agreement on how to reduce the debt, the "sequestration" cuts would be triggered automatically in January 2013. The committee did not reach an agreement, and so the cuts are now scheduled to happen.