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Manchin Rips Obama For Failing To Lead In Spending Fight

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Sen. Joe Manchin, D-WV, ripped President Obama on Tuesday for failing to lead as lawmakers in Congress fight over how to fund the government for the rest of the fiscal year.

With Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid trying to set up votes on both parties' spending proposals -- the Democrats' plan to cut $6.5 billion and the GOP plan to cut about $50 billion more than that -- Manchin denounced the votes as nothing more than "political theater" and said he will oppose both measures.

The Democrats' plan, he argued on the Senate floor, "doesn’t go far enough" and "utterly ignores our fiscal reality," while the Republicans' proposal is an "even more flawed measure." Both measures are destined to fail in the chamber because neither will reach the 60-vote threshold needed to advance.

"Why are we engaging in this political theater? Why are we voting on partisan proposals that we know will fail?" Manchin asked. "Why are we doing this when the most powerful person in these negotiations -- our president -- has failed to lead this debate or offer a serious proposal for spending and cuts that he is willing to fight for?"

"The debate will be decided when the president leads these tough negotiations -- and right now that's not happening," he added.

"The bottom line is this," Manchin concluded. "The president is the leader of this great nation, and when it comes to an issue of significant national importance, the president must lead. Not the majority leader or speaker, but the president."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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