Nominee to lead OMB faces difficulty in Senate

Senate Budget Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., on Wednesday would not commit to bringing up the nomination of former House Budget Chairman Jim Nussle, R-Iowa, to be Office of Management and Budget director for a vote in his committee.

"Well, we're in discussions," Conrad said. "His nomination is in some difficulty. I told him that directly yesterday. You've got people who served with him in the House who feel he should not be confirmed."

Spending fights on fiscal 2008 appropriations bills loom this fall, and current OMB Director Rob Portman, while taking a hard line, was seen as more approachable by Democrats. "We're entering into a very difficult situation with the White House. They've signaled a very confrontational stance, and unfortunately he has a reputation among many as being confrontational. So, it's not helped by the situation," Conrad said.

Conrad released a statement Tuesday after meeting with Nussle saying that "we need an OMB director who is fully committed to working with Congress" on fiscal matters.

Nussle's nomination must go through Conrad's panel before going to the floor, as well as the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee. Neither has scheduled a hearing. Portman has said he wants to leave his post before the August recess.

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