WASHINGTON – The Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, led by Chairman Joe Lieberman, ID-Conn., and Ranking Member Susan Collins, R-Me., held a hearing Tuesday on the nomination of Jim Nussle to be the next Director of the Office of Management and Budget.
Nussle, a former Republican congressman from Iowa, was Chairman of the House Budget Committee from 2001-2006 and also served on the House Ways and Means Committee. He was nominated by the President to succeed outgoing OMB Director Rob Portman.
“I am troubled by the budgetary rhetoric emanating from the White House,” Lieberman said. “To threaten vetoes of any appropriations bills that in any way exceed the Administration’s top line suggestion does not respect the responsibility and right of Congress to reach its own budgetary conclusions, and sets us up for another round of political posturing and mudslinging that could shut down parts of our government and will further push down the rapidly plummeting opinion the American people have of all of us who were sent to Washington to work for them.”
Lieberman told Nussle, “The challenge that confronts the next director of OMB will require not only technical and fiscal experience and expertise, it will require that you serve as a bridge builder, a credible intermediary, that you represent the Administration but do so in a way that takes us all above political conflict to find common ground, to forge the kinds of compromise that will make our federal government work better for our country and our people.”
Collins said: “Close cooperation will be essential as we address the enormous budget deficit, and as we confront the looming structural deficit born of Baby Boom demographics and unfunded entitlement obligations. Finding a mix of fiscal policies that will honor commitments and meet vital needs without throttling economic growth will be a huge challenge. We must also take care that fiscally driven management initiatives don’t undermine government’s fundamental obligation to protect the American people. Reductions in homeland-security grants to state and local governments, as well as proposed cuts in port-security and infrastructure-protection funding, are all troubling trends.”
The members of the Committee must vote on Nussle’s nomination before the Committee can report it to the full Senate floor. No date for a vote has been scheduled. In addition, Nussle is set to testify before the Senate Budget Committee on Thursday, July 26.