Florida GOP House members press Democratic Sen. Nelson on spending cutsby George Bennett | March 2nd, 2011
When the Republican-led U.S. House passed a seven-month spending plan that cuts $61 billion from the current year’s federal budget, Democratic U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson accused the lower chamber of “blindly slashing programs to posture for 2012 political campaigns.”
Now 12 Florida GOP House members — including both Republicans in the Palm Beach County delegation and potential Nelson 2012 challenger Connie Mack — are publicly urging Nelson to support “significant spending cuts” when the Senate takes up a measure to finance the government through Sept. 30.
Says U.S. Rep. Tom Rooney, R-Tequesta: “The Senate needs to listen to the American people, who are calling out for significant, immediate spending cuts. If families across Florida can respond to the economic downturn by cutting back and setting priorities in their budgets, why can’t the federal government?”
Says Nelson spokesman Dan McLaughlin: “Issuing partisan, political letters and press releases probably isn’t the best way to work together to solve the budget deficit.”
Read the letter after the jump…
Letter to Sen. Bill Nelson from 12 Florida House GOP members:
Dear Senator Nelson,
As the Senate begins debate on a long-term continuing resolution (CR) to keep the federal government operational, we urge you to be a strong voice in favor of cutting spending significantly while averting a government shutdown. As you know, unless Congress can agree to a CR before March 18, the federal government will essentially close. For the millions of Americans, including many in Florida, who rely on federal services like the Veterans Administration and the Social Security Administration, this shutdown would prove devastating.
Subsequently, over the last two weeks, Republicans in the House of Representatives have approved two measures to keep the government open while meeting the need to cut spending. On February 19, the House passed a long-term CR that would save taxpayers more than $100 billion from the President’s budget request over the next seven months. Yesterday, we passed a short-term CR that would cut $4 billion and keep the federal government running for two weeks.
Reducing our out-of-control deficit is the single most important action Congress can take to rebuild our economy and reduce unemployment. Unfortunately, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that the Democratic leadership will not support the significant spending cuts that the American people have demanded and economists agree our country needs.
The American people have made it clear that the status quo of out-of-control spending and trillion dollar deficits is unacceptable. A spending freeze, as proposed by President Obama and endorsed by some in the Senate, will not solve our fiscal crisis.
We hope you will support our efforts to cut spending and keep the government running. As our senior Senator, your voice and your vote will be critical to passing a long-term CR that includes the level of spending cuts that the people of Florida and voters across America have demanded.
Now that the Senate has passed the two-week, stopgap measure, please use this opportunity to follow the House’s lead, and the American people’s instructions, and pass a long-term CR that includes significant spending cuts.
Thank you for your consideration, and we look forward to working with you.
The letter was signed by Rooney and GOP Reps. Jeff Miller, Steve Southerland, Richard Nugent, Cliff Stearns, Gus Bilirakis, Dennis Ross, Connie Mack, Bill Posey, Allen West, Sandy Adams and David Rivera.