Sen. Deb Fischer said today she doesn’t expect any more Republicans to join the race for the U.S. Senate seat that will be vacated by Ben Nelson.
“I think the field is set,” she said after being asked if she’s talked to Gov. Dave Heineman, with whom she is close, about whether he’ll run for the seat. She is one of five Republicans vying for the GOP nomination.
As for the prospect of former U.S. Sen. Bob Kerrey getting in the race on the Democratic side, she said he’s a nice guy but she doesn’t think many Nebraskans know him anymore, given he’s spent the past decade in New York City.
Fischer’s comments came during a press conference she held today to outline her plan for reforming Congress by strengthening lobbyist and ethics rules and increasing transparency. She vowed to only serve two terms, if elected.
“Too many members of Congress from both parties put their personal interests first and don’t function in the citizens’ best interest,” Fischer said during a press conference. “We shouldn’t have people in Congress who are looking for a way to further their own career.”
Fischer said she supports term limits for members of Congress – two six-year terms for senators and three two-year terms for House members.
Fischer said she would work to stop the revolving door between Congress and K Street lobbyists by supporting:
• A lifetime ban on members of Congress becoming federal lobbyists after they leave office.
• A ban on immediate family members from becoming federal lobbyists while their family member holds federal office.
• Increasing the “cooling-off period” for congressional staff from lobbying members of Congress for their previous employer to three years.
• Prohibit former committee staff from lobbying committee chairs or any member of the committee who was active during their time on staff for three years.
• Restrict federal lobbyists from joining congressional staff or committee staff for three years.
Fischer would work to increase transparency by requiring Congress to be subject to the Freedom of Information Act; requiring federal candidates and members of Congress to file more detailed financial disclosure reports; post all bills for at least 72 hours for public review before Congress votes and require debate on the Senate floor for all major pieces of legislation.
On spending reform, Fischer would:
• Oppose all earmarks until the budget is balanced and then require a two-thirds majority to pass earmarks.
• Eliminate earmarks that go to private companies.
• Prioritize passage of the Cut, Cap and Balance Act to balance the budget.
• Eliminate automatic pay raises for Congress.
On ethics, Fischer proposes banning Congress, their staff and federal employees from trading stocks based on information obtained on the job that is not publicly available; disclosing nonpublic information for investment purposes and purchasing land based on inside information.
Fischer held her press conference at 9 a.m. so she could get to the capitol for the legislative session – which illustrates the challenge she has juggling a campaign while having to be in Lincoln for the session most weekdays likely through mid-April. The primary election is May 15, so Fischer can only campaign on nights and weekends.
“I take my job seriously,” she said. “I was elected to do my job. I believe I need to be there.”
Reported by Deena Winter, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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