Sen. Ben Nelson charges that Republican Deb Fischer needs to provide more specifics about what cuts she would favor to reduce the federal budget deficit.
Nelson, a Democrat, is retiring from public office. Democrat Bob Kerrey, Nelson’s predecessor, has returned to Nebraska and returned to politics in an effort to keep the seat in the hands of Democrats. Republican Deb Fischer won a contested Republican primary and has been leading in the public opinion polls.
Nelson attended the Kerrey-Fischer debate last night at the NET studios in Lincoln.
Nelson says that Fischer must outline what budget cuts she would favor to lower federal expenditures from their current level of slightly more than 25% of Gross Domestic Product to the 18% level outlined in the balanced budget amendment.
Nelson also disputes Fischer’s assertion that Congress is stealing $700 billion from Medicare to fund the federal healthcare program.
“As though that’s money coming out of Medicare, it’s not money coming out of Medicare, it’s a reduction in reimbursement to providers,” Nelson tells Nebraska Radio Network. “Now, that’s the sort of thing that people are anxious to hear and I don’t think they heard it last night.”
Republicans charge the Obama Administration is robbing Medicare to pay for federal health care. Democrats counter that the $700 billion reduction won’t affect Medicare coverage, but will reduce the reimbursements flowing back to hospitals and doctors.
Nelson declines to handicap the race for his Senate seat.
“I think it’s fluid,” Nelson says. “I think the numbers are probably closer than some of the polling has shown. I don’t think people have been as focused on it as they’re starting to focus on it right now.”
Nelson says the big unknown is how the presidential race might impact the Senate race in Nebraska.