BERKELEY SPRINGS, W.Va. (AP) — U.S. Sen. Joe Manchin told West Virginia voters that the nation's biggest threat comes from unaddressed, excessive spending.

The Democratic senator held a town hall meeting Friday in Berkeley Springs, where he responded to a number of questions from voters on topics that included health care, gun rights and opioid treatment, The Journal of Martinsburg reported .

But Manchin said that balancing the federal government's budget should rank atop the nation's "to-do" list.

"We are going to add $666 billion more debt this year," Manchin said. "By 2027, we're predicting we will be $31 trillion in debt, if we don't change our ways."

Manchin said he wants to enact a Constitutional Amendment to force the federal government to start balancing its checkbook. He compared the government's current approach to a homeowner who decides to go to the casino when the mortgage is due. He says both parties are to blame for the problem.

He also expressed disapproval with the most recent federal budget proposal, which he said includes sizable cuts in federal health aid. Rejecting the argument that social aid programs are unearned handouts, Manchin said the country has a moral responsibility to provide services to help Americans who are in need.

Manchin applauded President Donald Trump's Thursday declaration that opioid abuse has become a national public health emergency.

"It's of epidemic proportion," Manchin said. "Two hundred thousand Americans have died. We haven't lost this many people since World War II. And we know nothing about it — nothing. If we don't change our ways, we are going to lose a generation."

About 150 people attended the gathering in the state's Eastern Panhandle.

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Information from: The Journal, http://journal-news.net/