Manchin on Congress: ‘We Never Acknowledge We’ve Made a Mistake’

Manchin told the audience the federal government should be re-checking individuals receiving disability checks each month.

“We’ve got more people signing up for total disability than ever before,” he said. “Why aren’t we re-checking them? Why not make them come back to reevaluate if they are still totally disabled? You’re getting a lifetime reward, a lifetime check – that’s the jackpot. You’ve done hit the lottery, and those types of things we need to look at.”

Manchin, who replaced the late Sen. Robert Byrd (D-W.Va.), lamented the lack of bipartisanship in Congress.

“Unfortunately today in Washington we live by the concept that you are no longer guilty by association, you’re guilty by conversation today. If someone sees you talking to the opposite side, or somebody that might not have your same thought process or philosophical belief, it’s almost like you’ve gone to the dark side,” Manchin told the audience.

“I said, ‘My goodness, how can we learn what our differences are if we can’t talk to each other and communicate and try to find a commonality?’ Gone are the days when senators of different parties break bread in the Senate dining room. I used to hear about that.”

He expressed frustration with the current legislative process.

“If it was about personal politics and not public politics, I would be out of here. I’m the first to tell you that. There’s no place like home,” he later added.

Manchin said senators rarely get together for a bipartisan meal.

“When you see us on C-SPAN on the floor, that’s about the most time we spend with each other is when you see us during on a vote on the floor,” he said.

Manchin explained that he started a bipartisan lunch with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and other legislators.

“It has worked and we’ve been fairly successful with it,” he said.