this week, both Senator Rockefeller and Senator Manchin set forth their
priorities for the current session of Congress, which began January 3rd
of this year and continues through January 3rd,
Rockefeller made the announcement that at the end of the next two years of his
current term, he will not seek re-election, but in the most recent post to his
YouTube video series, titled “A Minute With Jay,” Rockefeller said just because
these will be his final years in Washington, doesn’t mean he’ll stop working
for West Virginians.
is right for me to spend more time with my family and to do public service in West Virginia in new ways,” Rockefeller said. “I’m
not leaving, I’ll be there, but for the next two years I’m going to continue
pouring myself into my work in the Senate.”
laid out his goals for the coming years, saying he will focus on ways to
provide a fair shake for hard-working West Virginia families.
concerns include reducing the nation’s deficit without hurting the middle class,
protecting workers with a new mine safety bill and defending veteran’s
said he will work to create jobs in the state, specifically by introducing a
bill that will provide tax credits to promote manufacturing development. He
said he will fight any proposed cuts to social programs, and will work to fully
implement new health care laws, even though they may not be popular with all West Virginians.
to keep fighting to protect Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, fully
implement the health reform law, which I know isn’t popular in West Virginia,
but is going to help West Virginia more than any other state, modernize the
E-Rate program which has successfully connected more then 92 percent of U.S.
classrooms to the Internet and make our tax code fairer. That’ll be hard, but
it’s doable,” Rockefeller said.
As Chair of
the Senate Commerce Committee, Rockefeller said he will also work to crack down
on consumer fraud.
In a press
conference, however, Senator Manchin made it clear that he’s speaking out about
more controversial issues.
Manchin touted his work on bills that make obtaining hydrocodone prescriptions
more difficult and provide proper childcare for military personnel, he’s been
outspoken on his stance on the nation’s fiscal issues, the need for talks on
gun safety and a reduction of troops in Afghanistan.
always said this, if you can’t get your financial house in order, you can’t do
any of the things you’re committed to or the values we have,” Manchin said.
culture of violence that we have in our society, and I know everyone is picking
different issues whether they’re totally opposed to guns and want to ban guns
or whether they’re, a lack of care that we’ve given for mental illness and
basically the nature of violence that you see today in the media, and then
finally ending the war in Afghanistan. I think that you all know pretty much
where I stand on that. I think that it’s a horrible war that we should be
said specifically he has been a proponent of the no budget, no pay bill, a
version of which was passed in by the House Wednesday. The bill prevents
members of Congress from receiving a paycheck until they can agree to a debt
said he was a co-supporter of the original bill, but may not be able to vote
yes on the measure passed by the House.
a pure no budget, no pay. I’m a co-sponsor and what it says, if the Senate and
the House can not come together to get a budget that we can operate under, than
we shouldn’t get paid,” Manchin said.
portion of no budget no pay that they put in that bill from the House is not
the bill that we introduced. It acts as if we don’t have a problem.”
perhaps more than any other issue, Manchin has received national attention for
his position on gun control since the Newtown, Connecticut, shooting. He’s appeared on network
morning shows and been the center of articles in The New York Times and The
Washington Post, portrayed as gun supporter and member of the National
Rifle Association who wants reform.
said that reform can’t come singularly from banning guns. That’s why he’s
working to propose legislation that will create a National Commission on Mass
Violence, bringing all stakeholders to the table to discuss solutions.
“We need a
commission on mass violence that will have expertise from all arenas. So if
it’s going to be from the guns, if we’re going to be talking about guns, bring people
in that understand them,” Manchin said.
“Why do we
have a lack of care for mental illness? How did we get to this point, to where
even teachers are identifying young children with severe problems and don’t
have enough good counseling to help them? How can we make our schools safer?
Can we do more there? That needs to be talked about.”
“How do you
have young children who have been desensitized about violence because they’ve
been looking and playing these horrible games on video? So, should we not talk
about all of that? You can’t blame one issue. If you truly want to curb and
change the culture, you have to look at everything.”
also plans to push his Environmental Protection Agency Fair Play Act, a bill
that would rein in the EPA’s powers and prevent the agency from revoking
permits that have already been legally granted. He called the bill a way to
promote energy independence not only in West Virginia, but also across the country.