Former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle was confirmed by the U.S. Senate 69-24 Tuesday to become the director of the Office of Management and Budget. Senators speaking against Nussle’s confirmation focused more on the policies of the administration, than Nussle’s qualifications for the job.
New York Senator John Schumer was one of the Democrats who spoke out against Nussle’s nomination. Schumer said he would oppose Nussle’s nomination because the country in "a new world and a new time and a new place" where the infrastructure and health care system are lagging. He says those who put continued tax cuts for the very wealthy above rebuilding America, are in the wrong time in the wrong place."
Schumer says the Democrats’ have a better plan for the budget. Schumer says the Democrats believe they must "restore our infrastructure, both physical and human in America to stay great." Schumer says Nussle is to rigidly weeded to the policies of the past and tax cuts on the very wealthy above everything else. "So I must vote against him, and urge my colleagues to do the same," Schumer says.
Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, a Democrat, said he was voting against Nussle, even though they are friends. Sanders says his not vote has little to do with Nussle, and everything to do with "the failed economic policies of the Bush administration."
Republican Senator Susan Collins of Maine supported Nussle, citing his experience leading the House budget committee. Collins says Nussle’s testimony before two Senate committees showed "an encyclopedic grasp of the federal budget, skill in the legislative process, and an understanding of the importance of good relationships between the executive branch and Congress." Collins says Nussle’s knowledge is needed. Collins says Nussle can help them "define issues, illuminate choices, and debate decisions."
Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, maintained the stance he has taken with Nussle’s nomination throughout, saying it’s the president who makes the ultimate decisions. Harkin says he hopes Nussle can bring "moderation, reason and cooperation" to the office. Harkin says those who represent rural areas of the country could have no better advocate than Nussle.
Republican Iowa Senator Chuck Grassley also touted Nussle’s budget experience. Grassley says few have worked as hard as Nussle to ferret out "wasteful and unnecessary spending", and says Nussle would continue to be an advocate for taxpayers. Nussle gave up his seat in the U.S. House to run unsucessfully for Governor in 2006.
Nussle relased the following statement: "I am humbled and honored to be confirmed as Director of the Office of Management and Budget. I thank the U.S. Senate for their broad, bipartisan support and will continue to work with members in both chambers of Congress on the important responsibility of delivering results for taxpayers.
"I look forward to helping to develop and implement the President’s agenda by working with Congress on our common goal of balancing the budget and making government more efficient. This includes working with our agencies to ensure they are well managed so that taxpayer dollars are spent wisely, or not at all.
We also need to hold the line on spending to maintain a pro-growth, low-tax environment that allows American workers to keep more of their hard-earned money. I am also committed to continuing efforts with Congress to responsibly address our Nation’s biggest long-term fiscal challenge – the unsustainable growth in entitlement spending. It’s a privilege to have the opportunity to work on these important issues on behalf of the President and with a tremendously talented group of professionals at OMB. As always, I want thank my family for their ongoing support of my public service."