The northwest Iowa business consultant challenging Congressman Jim Nussle for the Republican party’s 2006 gubernatorial nomination is questioning Nussle’s stewardship of the federal budget. Nussle is chairman of the House Budget Committee and Bob Vander Plaats (PLAWTZ) of Sioux City says it’s no time to cheer when the federal budget is in the red. Vander Plaats calls deficit spending “a train headed to nowhere.” With the country’s recent natural disasters, federal policymakers like Nussle have started to rework the federal budget, but Vander Plaats says their primary proposal — an across the board cut — isn’t the right move. Vander Plaats says tough times require tough leadership and tough decisions, and Nussle hasn’t show he has the mettle to reign in government spending. “My nine year old could order an across-the-board cut,” Vander Plaats says. “I think you have to take a targeted look, just like we do in business and industry. What produces results? What produces waste?” Vander Plaats says Nussle is guilty of engaging in “runaway spending” at the federal level, and Vander Plaats says that’s not the kind of record a Republican candidate for governor should have. “When you’re budget chair, that’s a leadership role and you need to lead your peers in regards to getting rid of pet projects, getting rid of pork barrel spending,” Vander Plaats says. During an appearance in October, Nussle responded to similar budget barbs. “I understand…I can get hit from both sides, but I am going to stay the fight that reducing taxes, growing our economy and reforming government is the right policy for America and it’s also the right policy for Iowa,” Nussle said.
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