Nelson: Budget cuts to continue
April 25, 2011 -- Nebraska's Senator Ben Nelson told the Kearney Rotary Club today that the nation needs to get its fiscal house in order and that budget cuts must continue.
"This month, Congress took an important first step to cut federal spending when it finalized the 2011 budget, cutting $40 billion. It is unfortunate that partisanship took us to the brink of a government shutdown, which would have been bad for our fragile economy, bad for our national security and bad for the American people," Senator Nelson said.
"We need to be engaging in even more cuts than we were able to make in the 2011 budget. I'm going to continue to work with Republicans, Democrats, independents and anyone else committed to a fair, fiscally conservative budget."
During his remarks to the Rotarians, the senator remembered his two terms as governor of Nebraska when he balanced the budget eight years in a row.
"Nebraskans have known for more than 20 years that I'm a fiscal hawk. So that there will be no mistake about the budget battles ahead, let me reassure you that I'm for substantial cuts in government spending, but they must be made wisely," Nelson said.
As Chairman of the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on the Legislative Branch, Nelson succeeded in cutting spending on Capitol Hill, including Congress, by 5 percent.
To illustrate the difficulties in making real budget cuts Nelson read a story from US News and World Report about the person in charge of invitations for the presidential inaugural who complained about cutting 5 percent from his budget.
Holding up one of the elaborate inaugural invitations, Nelson said: "It shows you just what a problem cutting the budget can be. Cutting $40 billion from the budget sounds good, but when you get down to the nuts and bolts people start complaining that it can't be done even on something as small as an invitation. And this complaint that made national news is on an invitation. Imagine what those in charge of spending billions on everything from airplanes to social programs and roads say.
"Well, the facts of the matter are, we must get our fiscal house in order and that begins with cutting spending."