Bush’s budget director quits

Another senior official in George W. Bush’s troubled White House is jumping ship. Budget director Rob Portman turned in his resignation Tuesday.

Bush immediately tapped former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle to replace Portman but the former chairman of the House Budget Committee may get a cool reception from Senate Democrats on Capitol Hill.

Nussle ran for Iowa governor in 2006 but lost and has been working as an advisor to Rudy Giuliani’s Presidential campaign.

Reports The Associated Press:

“There’s no finer man in public service than Rob Portman,” Bush said. “Fortunately we’ve found a good man to succeed him.”

“I won’t let you down,” Nussle promised Bush. “I won’t let you down.”

Portman, in a telephone interview, made it clear he might seek a return to elective office, either by running for governor of Ohio or for the Senate.

He said he was leaving for personal reasons. His family has remained in Cincinnati and he has been commuting home on weekends for 14 years.

“I need to be home more. I’ve got three kids ages 12 to 17. It’s just been very hard to spend as much time with them and Jane as I need to at this time of my life,” he said.

Democrats said Portman would not fare well in politics. “Portman’s going to have a hard time ever running again in Ohio after spearheading a Bush economic agenda that caused Ohio to bleed jobs and failed to turn around Ohio’s economy,” said Chris Redfern, chairman of the Ohio Democratic Party. “Voters will clearly reject that record.”

As head of the Office of Management and Budget, Portman ran an agency that touched every major spending decision in the government. He said he was known by some nicknames: “Doctor No. Tightwad. Budget hawk. Penny-pincher, and some not suitable for television audiences.”

A six-term congressman from Cincinnati, Portman left Capitol Hill to join the Bush administration two years ago as trade representative and was named budget director a little more than a year ago to replace Joshua Bolten when Bolten became White House chief of staff.

In Congress, Portman was a top liaison between lawmakers and the Bush White House, working behind the scenes from his posts on the Budget Committee and the powerful tax-writing Ways and Means Committee. Despite being a GOP loyalist in a Congress polarized by partisanship, Portman managed to win friends and allies among Democrats.

Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D., chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, said he regretted Portman’s resignation. “He is a person of credibility and decency that commanded respect on both sides of the aisle,” Conrad said. But he withheld praise from Nussle.

“Mr. Nussle has a reputation, deserved or not, of being an intense partisan, quite different from Rob Portman,” said Conrad, who said he’s already heard concerns about the nomination from about a half-dozen senators. “There are going to be issues with this confirmation.”

Since Democrats won control of Congress in November, a number of top administration officials have announced their resignations. Among those leaving or gone are White House counselor Dan Bartlett, chief White House attorney Harriet Miers, political director Sara Taylor, deputy national security adviser J.D. Crouch and Meghan O’Sullivan, another deputy national security adviser who worked on Iraq. Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld was forced out immediately after the election as the unpopular war in Iraq dragged on.

Nussle is a former county prosecutor. He was first elected to Congress in 1990, and quickly distinguished himself as a member of the “Gang of Seven,” a group of young Republicans who demanded changes in the methods the Democrats used to run the House.

House Republican Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, praised Nussle’s selection. “House Republicans are committed to sustaining any presidential veto over excessive spending by Democrats, and I look forward to working with Jim in that effort this year,” Boehner said.

Nussle served three terms as chairman of the House Budget Committee, where he favored budget plans that accommodated Bush’s tax cuts as well as the spending restraint that conservative Republicans advocated.


  1. Carl Nemo

    David M. Walker, head of the General Accountability Office, or GAO, is the nation’s top federal accountant;i.e., The Comptroller General of the United States and should be the person overseeing the national budget!

    The business of the nation’s budget is deadly serious business and is no place for political hacks. Until about three weeks ago the national debt ceiling was at 8.7 trillion dollars. Congress quietly increased the allowable debt ceiling to over 9.7 trillion. This is the same Congress that won’t stop the profligate wastage concerning war spending, nor reign in their voracious appetite for the “pulled-pork” sandwiches courtesy of the U.S. Treasury “deli”…! They slapped on almost 30 billion in percs to the war-funding bill above Bushco’s request for 96 billion?! As long as he got what the MIC and the “oil patch” wanted he could care less about fiscal responsibility associated with “gifting” the Dems with this excess 30 billion dollars.

    All of this is “debt-money”; i.e., nothing is paid for and they just keep swiping the national credit card “ka-ching”…ka-ching” incurring debt that is absolutely and totally unpayable due to the compound interest effect. The day will come soon where the entire annual national tax revenues will be needed to service the interest on this debt which is around the 20 trillion dollar mark, leaving zero funds left over for “we the people”…! This is insane to say the least and the day of reckoning is coming. I’m supplying a link concerning this impending crisis.

    Also the U.S. dollar is tanking against major and minor currencies and is worth about one-twelth the value of a 1947 dollar. The price of all commodities linked to the maintenance of our daily infrastructure have become a “moonshot”. We are headed for hyper-inflation, then “bust”. There won’t be any EFT’s (electronic fund transfers) to government retirement accounts, SS pensions, Medicare nor anything else, just massive financial wreckage leading to societal violence, rioting, insurrection and possibly nuclear war with China.

    The real tragedy will be that the “perps” that caused our grief will all be living the good life having escaped to some offshore haven while “we the people” are relegated to living in tarpaper shacks by the railroad tracks, spearing rats with fire-hardened sticks!

    The U.S. government book-keeping is so bad that the GAO will no longer certify their books. If a stock-holding company conducted business in this fashion it’s stock valuation would crater in one trading day. This budget business is serious and our elected leaders are conducting themselves like “identity thieves” and are now running “we the people” ‘s credit/debit card and looting our bank accounts. Every man, woman, child now has a $300,000 lifetime public debt hanging over their heads not including the personal debts they owe. America is in “harms way” with these mattoids in control. I advise all citizen/patriots to get highly motivated and demand fiscal responsibililty and accountability as the number one priority. We either payup by increasing taxes dramatically or we cut expenditures equally and fairly across the board with no “sacred cows” allowed or possibly a combination thereof. There is no such thing as a “free ride” except in a fools’ paradise…!


    Carl Nemo **==

  2. gene

    Carl I really respect your knowledge and the way you can “lay it out” for us less knowledgeable mortals….BUT….from what I observe (locally) these “citizen/patriots” will only become “highly motivated” if it involves their VERY self-centered lives such as their ability to purchase their next HDTV or plan their vacation.

    Dam glad to be able to read your comments again….almost starting crying when they stopped allowing us this privilege.

  3. gene

    In the article above it states “Bush said” and then went on from their. Thats about as much as I could personally take unless of course I’ve had several drinks and at least (2) ativan. Haven’t had a drink…..YET!!!

    “Bush said” and who (my God) is listening. What would amaze me the most is to actually meet someone that would listen to Mr. “mission accomplished”. But again and again and again…whatever number you may choose that would represent the masses of clueless individuals that populate this (Great Nation??????).

    These are surely incrediable times we live in or is that END. I no their are those that are as shocked as I am that all this (evil) insanity could exist in the first place. I know too that “evil insanity” has always been here on planet earth but to watch it develope in just a few yeas to the degree we witness today is still amazing….at least to me.

  4. JudyB

    Thank you to Carl for a wonderful, fact filled, eye opening reply to this article….and to Gene for stating exactly how I feel about the situation, when you wrote… “I know too that “evil insanity” has always been here on planet earth but to watch it develope in just a few yeas to the degree we witness today is still amazing….at least to me.

    I will never cease to be amazed at the rapidness with which one administration, minus any checks and balances necessary to lead an honest & healthy government, can drive a great nation like the USA into the ground at mach speed…its overwhelming to say the least.