Time is short for real change in Washington

Friday, January 4, 2013

With Vice President Joe Biden administering the oath of office, Deb Fischer was officially sworn in Thursday for her six-year term as U.S. Senator, with Sen. Mike Johanns and former Sen. David Karnes at her side.

Sen. Fischer pledged to work with Republicans and Democrats to "restore America's fidelity to her constitutional principles" by limiting the size of government, revitalizing the economy and respecting "the liberties and hard-earned money of American taxpayers.

"The road ahead requires tough choices, and I will cast my votes solely on the merits of policies and their impact on Nebraksans and the nation."

Those "tough choices" won't be long in coming, and her decisions will show how far she is willing to go to help the federal government to get its fiscal house in order.

While members of the House of Representatives are on a timetable of fundraising and running for re-election that makes it extremely difficult to take the long view, senators at least have a six-year term to use to accomplish a worthwhile goal.

As a member of the Armed Services committee, Sen. Fischer will have an important role in national defense, but will she be willing to endorse cuts that would reduce the number of jobs in Omaha, home of the U.S. Strategic Command headquarters?

Will she make the "tough choice" to cut farm subsidies to Nebraska, which ranks fifth of the 50 states, receiving more than $13 billion in commodity, crop insurance, conservation and disaster subsidies?

Will she become part of a bipartisan coalition that can make the organic change necessary for the long-term fiscal health of the American system?

Or will she become just another member of the "business-as-usual" crowd in Washington, keeping the federal funding coming until the fiscal house of cards comes crashing down?

For Sen. Fischer and other newly-elected members of Congress, the next few months will tell.

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