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Fischer: “The field is set” on GOP Side of U.S. Senate Race

By   /   January 19, 2012  /   News  /   3 Comments

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, [email protected]

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Deena formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.

  • 3rd Place

    What are the odds that she will come in 4th Place behind Pat Flynn? Just wondering

  • The Field is Set versus The Field of Dreams

    @ Senator Fischer: awesome proposals with respect to federal lobbyists and Congress.

    Given that the Unicameral gavel just sounded, would you be willing to introduce a statewide version of these desperately-needed reforms?

    There’s truly a great deal wrong when Nebraska’s overworked State Senators earn $12,000 thousand dollars a year…

    And Mueller-Robak – Nebraska’s “premier” lobbyists – earn more than $1, 150,000.00 (one million, one hundred & fifty thousand dollars a year);

    And NU lobbyists earn a quarter of a million dollars a year;

    And NU Chancellors earn more than the Leader of the Free World.

    And NU Foundation – which should be “Public, Non-Profit” – execs earn more than $500,000 hundred thousand dollars (a half a million) a year and beyond.

    Senator, Nebraska is merely a microcosm of the “Upside Downism” that has evolved in America. Given the figures cited above, is it any surprise that lobbyists own both Congress and Nebraska’s venerable and unique Unicameral?

    Nebraska is one of 50 reasons why We the People have been forced to Occupy the United States of a Mess.

    But seriously, thank you for even suggesting reforms that should prompt some piercing discussions among Nebraska’s ostensibly “non-partisan” Legislature.

  • Watching From Lincoln

    Where’s a “like” button for Field’s comment?

    While very altruistic on the ethics front (and totally undoable given the current way the winds blow in Washington) more important is what are Deb Fisher’s stands on more pressing issues such as Campaign Financing, Economic Recovery, Social Issues, the Environment, Global Military Involvement, and Energy Independence (from ANY foreign country, no matter how “friendly”) and ending fossil fuel dependence?