CHN: President Nominates former House Budget Committee Chair Jim Nussle as White House Budget Director; Confirmation Hearings Scheduled in Senate
In nominating Jim Nussle to be Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB), President Bush did not appear to choose someone most likely to negotiate successful budget and appropriations agreements with the Democratic Congress. Former House Budget Committee Chairman Nussle was noted for proposing cuts in domestic programs far deeper than either his own House or the Senate were willing to swallow. His proposals for the FY 2006 budget initially included $68.6 billion in cuts over five years to entitlement programs such as Medicaid and the Earned Income Tax Credit. The full House could not accept these cuts and reduced them by about half. Chairman Nussle’s budgets deepened the deficit despite the service cuts because they included huge tax cuts favoring the wealthy.
Two Senate committees have jurisdiction over the OMB nomination: the Homeland Security and Government Affairs and Budget Committees. Homeland Security and Government Affairs will hold a confirmation hearing on Tuesday, July 24; the Senate Budget Committee will hold its hearing on Thursday the 26th.
The Coalition on Human Needs joined with other leaders of the Emergency Campaign for America’s Priorities (ECAP) in sending a letter to the senators on both these committees, urging them to probe the extreme nature of Mr. Nussle’s views. In addition to citing the severe cuts in entitlement programs proposed by the former House Budget Committee chair, the letter reminds the senators of Mr. Nussle’s insistence on paying for Katrina/Rita hurricane disaster relief by deeper cuts in low-income programs, both entitlements like Medicaid and annual appropriations. Emergency spending does not need to be offset by cuts in services, and the hurricanes were clearly an unanticipated disaster. However, although Chairman Nussle repeatedly funded well-anticipated Iraq war costs on an emergency basis, he was unwilling to apply that approach to a genuine emergency. To see the letter from ECAP leaders: http://chn.org/pdf/2007/Nussleletter.pdf.