Iowa Senator Tom Harkin, a Democrat, says he expects former Iowa Republican Congressman Jim Nussle to be a big part of what could be a tough budget fight between the Democrats and the President. Nussle has been nominated by President Bush to take over the Office of Management and Budget.
Harkin says Nussle was the head of the budget committee while in the House and "was a good lieutenant for Bush during those years, and I assume the Bush people wanted someone that reflected their values and their opinions and that kind of stuff." Harkin says Nussle "knows this budget stuff very well."
Harkin says he wants to wait for Nussle’s Senate confirmation hearing, but believes he’d vote for Nussle. Harkin says, "Barring any unforeseen disclosures, or something like that, I probably would vote to confirm him." Harkin says he’s always gotten along fine with Nussle even though they have different political views. Harkin says it’s expected the administration will push hard to get its way, and Nussle will help them.
Harkin says, "Mr. Nussle does have a reputation as someone who plays a game of hardball, as you might say, with the Democrats." Harkin says that reputation shouldn’t condemn someone as "a lot of people play hardball around here." Harkin says any budget battles won’t be Democrats versus Nussle.
"It’s not Mr. Nussle, that’s not the point. It’s his boss, that’s who I’m upset with," Harkin says. Harkin says it’s the president that calls the shots, "if he wants to have people around him that just rubber stamp what he does, that’s the president’s prerogative." Nussle left his congressional seat to run for governor, but lost the race to Chet Culver.