Tag Archives: Joe Manchin

By all means, ‘look at’ birthright citizenship, but then …

Don’t mess with the 14th Amendment provision in the U.S. Constitution that grants citizenship to anyone born in the United States of America.

U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin, a West Virginia Democrat, says that the status of the amendment is worth “looking at,” but adds that Donald J. Trump is mistaken if he thinks he can get rid of it through an executive order.

Manchin, who is fighting for re-election in a state that Trump won in 2016 by a lot of vote, often is the rare Senate Democrat who sides with the Republican president. His view that birthright citizenship is worth examining doesn’t suggest he wants to get rid of it, but that it’s worth a closer look than many of us have given it.

The Hill reported: “I think there’s a lot can be done and a lot can be controlled, but he cannot do it by an executive order,” the senator added, arguing that the president can’t unilaterally change the Constitution.”

Trump raised millions of eyebrows across the nation by declaring his desire to issue an executive order to rescind part of a constitutional amendment. He cannot do it through executive action. His new BFF in the Senate, Republican Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, said he plans to introduce legislation to deal with the birthright citizenship matter.

The president’s tactic is a ploy aimed at pleasing and firing up his political base. That’s the name of that game. The amendment has been on the books for 150 years. It became an issue only because Donald Trump decided to make it one.

As for whether it deserves a closer examination, sure thing. Do it. Take whatever time you need to look at it.

My own preference is that Congress should leave it alone.

Senate approves surgeon general … finally!

For the first time in I don’t know how long, the United States has a top doctor.

He is Vivek Murthy, who today was approved by the U.S. Senate to become the nation’s next surgeon general.

http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/senate-approves-obama-pick-for-surgeon-general/ar-BBgQAMd

Despite his sparkling medical credentials and the work he has done to combat HIV/AIDS, senators had held up his nomination because he has spoken out against gun violence, calling it a public health issue.

Imagine that. A physician wanting to control gun violence because bullets injure and kill people.

His confirmation vote today was 51-43, with Republicans overwhelmingly opposing him because he is no friend of gun-rights advocates. Some Democrats joined their Republican colleagues in opposing Dr. Murthy.

One of them was Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., who issued a statement opposing the doctor because, according to Manchin, his political views muddled his medical policy. I understand why Manchin joined other senators in opposing Murthy. It’s because he’s scared of gun-rights groups such as the National Rifle Association and the potent political power they possess.

That doesn’t make it right.

Vivek Murthy is perfectly qualified to serve as surgeon general. His views on gun control are well-known, but they do not infringe on his ability to help set medical policy or recommend measures to promote good health on behalf of the Obama administration.

Indeed, had their been a surgeon general on board during the recent Ebola mini-scare, there might not have been a need for the president to appoint an “Ebola czar” to coordinate the administration’s response to the disease’s arrival in the United States.

OK, so that task is done. We have a surgeon general. It’s good to know that at least 51 senators had the guts to vote in favor of hiring a chief medical officer to advise the nation on how to take better care of its health.

 

Talks to head off shutdown to begin … maybe

U.S. Sens. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., are considered two moderate voices within their respective parties.

They now chair an ad hoc collection of senators called the “Common Sense Caucus.” Their mission is to head off another federal government partial shutdown.

http://www.politico.com/story/2013/11/commonsense-caucus-could-stave-off-second-shutdown-100435.html?hp=t1

Will they succeed? Well, their only chance to succeed will occur if the real negotiators fail to do their job. They have until Dec. 13 to produce a deal to fund the government. That group is led by Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., and Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis. It comprises equal numbers of Democrats and Republicans, as charged in the deal that ended the first government shutdown in October.

Personally, I’m not holding my breath for anything substantive. I’m betting they’ll nibble around the edges of the larger issue — which must include a long-term tax increase along with serious budget cuts in programs no one wants to cut, such as Medicare.

Heck, I’m not even holding out for any serious hope Congress can avoid another shutdown.

We’ve seen this act many times already. Everyone says they want to work together. Then they quarrel and bicker, taking the nation to the brink of fiscal collapse.

Collins and Manchin are reasonable folks. So are Murray and Ryan. Among the four of them, can’t they come up with a reasonable long-term solution to this ridiculous spectacle?