CHARLESTON, W.Va. (WOWK) – A lawmaker is playing a pivotal role in the effort to raise the nation’s debt ceiling.

Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) is a critical swing vote in the U.S. Senate, and he looks to play that role again.

While President Joe Biden has been negotiating a debt ceiling deal with House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), Manchin is among those being briefed on the talks.

The national debt already stands at $31 trillion, and unless the debt limit is raised, the U.S. won’t be able to borrow more money to pay its bills after June 1.

Republicans have been holding out for more spending cuts, to bring down the debt. Manchin is once again reaching across the aisle to join Republicans in the call to cut spending.

“We increased our spending tremendously during the COVID. We knew we had a health crisis. We didn’t want a financial crisis. So we increased our spending,” Machin said. “Can’t we get back down to levels that we were pre-COVID? We’re not in COVID today.”

The U.S. needs to be more financially disciplined, Manchin added.

“We have spent more money 21 years in a row, than we took in, in the United States government. 21 years,” Manchin said. “There’s not a person watching us right now, that can do that in their household of their business. So we have got to get disciplined to do our job and live within our means.”

Biden said without a debt ceiling boost, there might eventually have to be cuts in Social Security and Medicare, a dangerous political choice for both parties as senior citizens vote in higher numbers than any other age group.

Manchin and other members of Congress will return to D.C. on Friday in hopes of agreeing on a deal with the White House, as they face that June 1 deadline.