Mar 17 2011
Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal, Tupelo
By Joe Rutherford
The U.S. Senate voted twice Wednesday to cut at least 5 percent from office budgets to set an example for spending reductions, with the earlier measure authored by Sen. Roger Wicker, R-Miss.
Wicker’s call for a 5 percent budget reduction in individual senators’ budgets passed on adjournment Wednesday night, and is in effect.
Another resolution, introduced this week by Sen. Ben Nelson, D-Neb., passed as an amendment to a Small Business Administration-related funding bill, but it cannot take force until the bill is finally approved in the Senate.
Wicker and Mississippi’s other Republican senator, Thad Cochran, agree that a 5 percent cut would save an estimated $20 million per year.
Wicker began his push for the resolution earlier in the session to set an example of fiscal resatraint that could be amplified in other budget-reduction actions.
“I am glad the Senate agreed to my resolution, but we have to continue making meaningful reductions to federal spending,” said Wicker. “If we are going to solve our fiscal problems, we must start leading by example.”
Cochran voted for the Nelson amendment, which is similar to the Wicker resolution.
“The spending cut endorsed by this resolution sends a message that the Senate itself is ready to reduce its own expenditures to help reduce federal spending. My office typically returns between 5 and 10 percent of its annual budget, and I have instructed my staff members to carry out their duties more frugally,” Cochran said.
The vote in support of the Nelson amendment was 98-1.
Wicker’s staff will be reduced by one position and other cuts across-the-board will be made to meet the goal.