Tuesday, June 19

Nussle Hustles to Washington to be BD

Former House member, Iowa Governor-wannabe, and current Rudolph Guiliani campaign aide, Jim Nussle, was named by George W. Bush to replace Rob Portman as the White House Budget Director. As has been the rule as of late among aides to the WH, Portman is leaving because "I need to be home more. I've got three kids ages 12 to 17."

At the press conference announcing his nomination, Nussle said, "Mr. President, I look forward to the awesome responsibility you've placed upon me. If I'm fortunate enough to be confirmed, I feel confident that my experiences in Congress and as the House Budget Chair have prepared me well for the challenges that lay ahead. I'm excited to help tackle our nation's priorities and work again with my friends and colleagues in the House and Senate. I want to say also a few words about my home, Iowa, and also my family and the people who make up that great state. They've given me incredible opportunities throughout my life. My experience, my optimism -- and sometimes humor -- work ethic and success have all come from my family and friends and the people in Iowa, and I want to thank you for the incredible foundation that you've given me."

When asked for his reaction to the Nussle appointment, House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland had little to say. ``I don't know Mr. Nussle very well,'' he said, "Next question?"

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said that Nussle's tenure as House Budget Committee chairman, and his personal relationships with members of Congress, will serve him well.
Nussle ``knows a lot about the process,'' McConnell said. ``He's a good choice.''

Stan Collender, a former analyst for both the House and Senate Budget Committees who is now managing director of Qorvis Communications in Washington. ``Given that there's no one else in the administration with any credibility on the budget or economy, this could put a big crimp in the war on appropriations. [Nussle] will have to establish and build his own credibility before he can fully lead the administration's efforts on the budget.''

Among Republicans, who are trying to shift the "tax and spend" back to the Democrats, came these remarks in support of Nussle.

"Jim's strong convictions about the need to restrain government spending ... will be crucial to this administration," said Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, top Republican on the House Budget Committee.

House Minority leader John Boehner said in a press release, "I'm pleased that Jim Nussle will soon take the reins at OMB. Jim and I worked together before in the early 1990s as part of the Gang of Seven where we fought to make the House more transparent and accountable. I know he'll work with House Republicans closely - just as Rob did - to reform the way Washington spends taxpayer dollars, and to fight against wasteful and excessive spending. House Republicans are committed to sustaining any Presidential veto over excessive spending by Democrats, and I look forward to working with Jim in that effort this year."

It should be an interesting time in Washington.


From NBC's Chuck Todd Pres. Bush's gain is Rudy Giuliani's loss. Former Iowa GOP Rep. Jim Nussle's decision to accept Bush's appointment as Budget Dir. means Giuliani loses his main Iowa sherpa. Nussle was always a good answer to the question: "Who's handling your Iowa campaign, mister mayor?" And the answer "Nussle" was usually enough to keep the "Rudy's got no organization in Iowa" griping at bay. But with Nussle gone, the answer of "Paul Pate" (the person who is Giuliani's state chair) won't be satisfactory to some Iowa observers. Giuliani heads to Iowa tomorrow to give a fiscal discipline speech (Nussle would be proud) but he also needs to get some bigger names on board to convince folks that he is, indeed, trying to "win" Iowa. Remember, Giuliani can "win" Iowa without coming in first, but he certainly has to play if he wants to make a second place showing a "win."

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