Mod Squad infiltrates U.S. Senate budget fight

March 5, 2009

Their mission is to handcuff some of the money President Barack Obama seeks in his budget request to Congress … deficit-spending that they fear will prey on future generations.

They are the “Mod Squad,” a group of about 15 Senate Democrats, some of them freshmen, whose tentative name reflects their moderate political leanings and is borrowed from a 1960s television drama.

USA-STIMULUS/“The purpose is not to be adversarial to the White House,” ringleader Ben Nelson of Nebraska told reporters on Thursday. Yes, it’s the very same Nelson who helped broker the compromise on the $787 billion economic stimulus bill.

But Nelson said many in the group are worried about the overall size of Obama’s budget — $3.55 trillion just for next year — and others fret about specific initiatives within the budget.

With Republicans already warning they could boycott the Democrats’ budget, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid just may have to pay attention to this group of moderate Democrats if he wants to get a budget passed this spring.

There’s plenty at stake: Obama’s budget proposal calls for significant expansions of environmental and education programs, establishing new accounts to expand health insurance to those who can’t afford it and to combat global warming, along with bringing U.S. combat troops out of Iraq.

“We don’t even have a name yet, or a mascot,” Nelson quipped. But when asked about possible names, he was quick to blurt out a possibility: “Mod Squad. I just threw that out.”

No details yet on specific programs the gang might want to arrest in the budget.

For more Reuters political news, click here.

- Photo credit: Reuters/Jonathan Ernst (Senator Ben Nelson with reporters last month)

6 comments

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It is good to know Ben Nelson and a few others have finally caught on to the fact we cannot spend our way out of this problem. And cap and trade taxes will cause further major damage to our economy.

Posted by Obomination | Report as abusive

A starting point for the ‘mod’ squad should be to remove
every earmark in the bill. They can then target a ‘no increase’ mark in the budget package. Only washington who keep telling us we are on the brink of a financial catastrophe, could then hope to pass a spending bill with
a 8% increase over last year. This is outrageous and yet
obama says he will sign the bill, change is on the way!

Posted by edward elliot | Report as abusive

We need to spend some of this money on lowering poverty levels!

The Borgen Project has some good info on the cost of addressing global poverty.

$30 billion: Annual shortfall to end world hunger.
$550 billion: U.S. Defense budget

This story gives me hope that Obama will finally get a fight when it comes to the policies he wants to “force” upon us.

Every time the democrats get into power, they end up being more divided than the republicans ever are. They have so many factions within their party, they can’t even get along with themselves.

I really hope the “mod squad” and others in the democrat party fight Obama on the health care plan Obama is trying to force on us with no money to pay for it….none!!! We can’t afford anymore of Obama, even though he has only been in office about 6 weeks. The spending plan is very bad and is leading the way to some very dark times for us as a nation.

I hope everyone has fortified their homes, because when the civil unrest starts, it will be a very scary time.

Someone needs to stop the train before Obama’s train wreck and the “mod squad” is a very good start in that process.

It’s about time people are starting to wake up to the nightmare they elected.

Posted by TC | Report as abusive

EARMARKS. The most misunderstood word in politics today. One man’s evil earmark in another man’s essential program. As was demonstrated by the foolish Bobby Jindal when he criticized the volcano research funding in the Northwest but overlooked hurricane research in the Southeast. It is always important that the money be spent on your program not the other guys.

Posted by Bob Connelly | Report as abusive

Bob, some earmarks truely are idiotic. This is why they all need to be carefully reviewed before being passed. Also, if we had a smaller federal government, then we could send more taxes directly to the states, instead of it being filtered before it reaches them. I fail to see why I should be helping to pay for the $200,000 that is proposed for tatoo removal in Las Vegas.

Posted by Jordan | Report as abusive