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Mark Neumann | National Media and Quotes

"[Neumann's] an absolute prophet of balancing the budget, brilliant and idealistic."
- Newt Gingrich, NY Times Magazine, November 3, 1996

"Among the eight most influential lawmakers in shaping budget policy: Elected to the zealous class of 1994, [Mark Neumann] can speak for about 25 GOP hard-liners. Now that the deficit could fore seeably be brought under control, he wants to start slaying the other fiscal monster: our $5.3 trillion national debt."
- George Magazine, July 1997

"'He is one of the people who is most influential in getting us to a balanced budget,' Gingrich acknowledged recently. 'Mark is just a fighter,' Budget Committee Chairman John R. Kasich (R-Ohio) added."
- Washington Post, September 2, 1998

"[Former Vice President Dan Quayle] said in a press release announcing the luncheon that Neumann is 'a man of principle, character, and political courage. While he fights to downsize government and crush waste and fraud, he is taking major heat from the special interest lobbyists who have been milking our tax dollars for decades.'"
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, November 3, 1995

"Congratulations on your courage and conviction... I have rarely been so impressed by any member of Congress as I was by your 'flat-out act of conscience.' Yours was truly a class act. Wisconsin should be very proud of you."
- former Senator William Proxmire, February 1995

"Your initiative to pay back the $5.4+ trillion dollars we have borrowed... is the right moral and ethical approach to facing up to our responsibility for passing along a better and stronger America to our children and grandchildren. I will be glad to assist you... We need 'Action This Day!'"
- Ross Perot, July 1997

"Neumann's dogged focus on the bottom line - his staff members regularly prepare a fiscal analysis of all the bills on which he will be voting - also wins kudos from his colleagues. 'I think he is one of brightest men in the freshman class,' Rep. Helen Chenowith of Idaho said. 'He spends hours researching budgetary matters. And when he makes his decision, I have learned to rely on the fact that Mark has really done his homework.'"
- National Journal, September 30, 1995

"'Mark Neumann has, I think, the most interesting new idea I've seen,' Mr. Gingrich told The Washington Times. 'It's brilliant. And, again, it shows you what I mean by being on offense.'"
- Washington Times, August 21, 1997

"Rare is the congressman who'll bring an overhead projector to a town meeting so he can lecture on the federal debt. And Wisconsin Republican Mark Neumann, to be sure, is no ordinary congressman."
- The Weekly Standard, October 5, 1998

"In Washington, Rep. Mark W. Neumann (Wis.) is well known as a fire-breathing fiscal conservative, one of the leaders of the 1994 freshman class of GOP revolutionaries who make House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) seem wimpish when it comes to cutting government."
- Washington Post, September 2, 1998

"The freshmen regard themselves as short-timers in Washington, rather than career politicians. They still exhibit the clear-eyed certitude of crusaders. 'This is not my career,' Neumann said. 'That attitude really frees us to make good decisions.'"
- Boston Globe, December 25, 1995

"Much to Newt Gingrich's chagrin, freshman Rep. Mark W. Neumann has kept his pledge not to vote for any bill that increases the deficit. ... 'There's a point where you follow team leadership and a point where you stick to principles,' Mr. Neumann said."
- Washington Times, February 23, 1995

"When he sat down to talk policy with House Speaker Newt Gingrich in April, Rep. Mark Neumann didn't mention his plan to pay off the entire $5.38 trillion national debt. But as Gingrich thumbed through Neumann's numbers-laden analysis of the federal budget, he stopped at the last section, titled 'Retiring the Debt.' Gingrich started asking questions, and got visibly more excited with each answer. Now Gingrich and other Republican leaders have embraced Neumann's proposal - that rather than stopping with a balanced budget, America should go on to payoff its debt - as a defining idea of modern conservatism."
- U.S. News and World Report, August 11, 1997

"[Rep. Mark] Souder said that 'people elected us to be different. Mark Neumann is a classic example of that. He deserves to be commended. Isn't it ironic that the same day that the Speaker was criticizing the President for not being aggressive enough on cutting the budget, they're disciplining a freshman for being too aggressive?'"
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 13, 1995

"Anyone who visited Neumann at his Washington office over the past few years could expect to be pulled aside for a quick chart board lecture by the ex-teacher, who has a knack for explaining budget arithmetic in a way that even casual observers could understand."
- Wisconsin State Journal, June 29, 1997

"In Washington, Neumann soon became a leader among the large group of freshmen Republicans who saw themselves as deficit hawks. ... Like many leaders in Washington, Neumann takes a share of the credit for the balanced budget."
- Professional Builder, August 1998

"[Neumann] arrived in Washington in 1995 as one of 73 GOP House freshmen declaring the deficit the most troubling problem facing the country. Practically overnight he emerged as a fresh conservative face in the crusade to balance the budget... and shrink the size of government."
- Washington Post, September 2, 1998

"Many of Neumann's classmates look to him for guidance, not only on fiscal matters but on ways to resist pressure to conform. Steve Largent, the former N.F.L. all-pro wide receiver for the Seattle Seahawks and now a Republican freshman from Oklahoma, refers to Neumann as a 'real William Wallace' - a reference to the 13th-century Scottish rebel who battled both the oppressive English crown and the duplicitous Scottish nobility."
- New York Times Magazine, November 3, 1996

"Like other Wisconsin lawmakers past and present, including former Sen. William Proxmire and one of Neumann's predecessors, the late Rep. Les Aspin, Neumann is a vocal foe of government waste. 'It ties directly into the whole budget thing,' he said. 'One of the problems we have in this government is the amount of wasteful spending that's going on out here.' ... Neumann said that, as a former businessman, he was particularly offended by the haphazard record-keeping and other deficiencies disclosed by the GAO. He has introduced a resolution in the House calling on each federal agency that did not comply with the audit to do so immediately and to establish proper procedures for the future."
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, May 31, 1998

"Mr. Neumann deserves credit for being consistent, especially since his Wisconsin district voted for both Michael Dukakis and Bill Clinton. But his run-in with party leaders also represents a warning flare over the GOP revolution. ... The new GOP rebels such as Mr. Neumann aren't the problem; it's Appropriations committees unsuited by definition for revolutionary tasks."
- Wall Street Journal, October 13, 1995

"By placing a rather detailed, how-we-get-there-from-here-plan on the table less than three months after arriving in Washington, Mr. Neumann has demonstrated he is a man in a hurry. One can almost hear the snickers from the White House, matched snort for snort at the Democratic congressional caucus: some freshman nobody from nowheresville has just jumped off the turnip-truck. If the Beltway crowd and the White House haven't figured it out yet - and they probably haven't, considering the president's 'relevance' crusade - both the House and the Senate are filled with like-minded freshmen with two things in common. One is that they don't want to hang around playing games for 20 years. More important, though, they plan to leave their children a legacy different from what Mr. Panetta and Mr. Clinton would bequeath."
- Washington Times, April 21, 1995

"Meet freshman Rep. Mark W. Neumann, R-Wisconsin. He's not in Washington to schmooze and bask in the limelight; he and nearly two dozen other like-minded House newcomers are out to cut the budget and sharply reduce the size of the federal government. Period."
- National Journal, September 30, 1995

"Neumann, along with [Steve] Largent and Linda Smith of Washington, are the leaders of a group of 28 freshmen calling themselves the 'New Federalists,' whose goal is to eliminate several federal departments. .... These new mullahs of the Republican revolution say their fundamental belief is based around the promise of federal deficit reduction. Coming in with a term-limits mentality that makes their goals more urgent and threats to their legislative careers less potent, they also campaigned on a promise to reduce the federal government and its regulatory powers. ... 'When it comes to hitting spending targets, there will be no compromise,' said Neumann... 'There is no other responsibility greater than to get the budget balanced and do something about the debt. Because if we do not do that this nation does not have a future. It is very cut and dried. It is very straightforward.'"
- Chicago Tribune, October 15, 1995

"Mark Neumann has ... made a reputation as a relentless budget cutter, even among the notoriously frugal Republican congressional class of 1994."
- "All Things Considered", N.P.R., August 26, 1998

"But many other Republicans, including a lot of young House members, are fueled less by tax-cutting zeal than a Perot-inspired passion to halt deficit spending, pay down the accumulated national debt and reduce the size of government. So, many are latching onto Rep. Mark Neumann's proposal to ensure a surplus by capping federal spending at one percentage point less than federal revenue. The Wisconsin Republican's plan also specifies that a third of that surplus should go to retiring the national debt, a third to replenish highway and other trust funds and only a third to tax cuts. 'There will be division' within the GOP over taxes, acknowledges Rep. Neumann, whose desk carries a carved wooden sign proclaiming: 'It's the National Debt, Stupid.'"
- Wall Street Journal, July 29, 1998

"Coatless, with his shirt sleeves rolled up, [Neumann] said he hoped that a generation from now Congress could 'give our children a debt-free America,' a Social Security trust fund from which no loans have been made to the Government's general fund, and lower income taxes."
- New York Times, October 23, 1998

"When Mark Neumann was a math teacher, he'd lecture on the arithmetic of the federal deficit to his high school class in Janesville, Wisconsin. Hauling out charts and graphs, he'd explain the atrociousness of the situation, how the budget crisis had to be solved, and why America had to live within its means. Last week Neumann was again hauling out the math and the charts and the graphics, but this time as freshman Congressman and real-life budget cutter returning home from a historic budget-busting session of the House of Representatives."
- Time, June 12, 1995

"But Neumann, although a stalwart conservative, has argued that he's not a blind loyalist to the national Repub-lican leadership. Neumann's devotion to eliminating the federal budget deficit has occasionally landed him in hot water with fellow Republicans interested in protecting portions of the federal budget."
- Wisconsin State Journal, September 11, 1996

"'This job isn't my lifelong dream,' [Neumann] said. 'This is about the future of our kids and what's going to happen to them. ... You've got a group of people here who want to fix this country and go back home and live our lives out.' If that's true, the New Federalists are marching to a different political drum. Congress is about to launch into budget reconciliation, its toughest fiscal test, and it will be interesting to see how long that independent cadence rings in their ears."
- National Journal, September 30, 1995

"His political feelings coalesced around a strong belief - a moral belief - that it was wrong to put our children in the position of owing trillions of dollars a generation from now for the excesses of our government today. Neumann became a crusader against the national debt."
- Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, October 11, 1998

"In fact, Neumann apparently has been so efficient that he has been able to return a total of $306,000 from his office account since he first came to Washington three years ago. According to congressional records, Neumann's office was allocated $876,124 this year. Since arriving in Washington, Neumann has billed himself as an enthusiastic combatant in the war against government waste, a position in which he believes so strongly that he even refused the pay raise Congress approved for him last year. Instead he returned the money to pay down the federal debt... Such pleas for fiscal belt-tightening make one wonder about what would happen if even just a fraction of House members met Neumann's challenge and lived with $100,000 less in their personal-office accounts. By waste and abuse calculations, if just 25 percent were to follow Neumann's lead, the savings could reach as much as $40 million over four years."
- Washington Times, March 30, 1998

"[Neumann is] a former math teacher who ran on a platform of cutting the federal deficit, balancing the budget and lowering taxes. And unlike many freshmen, he got an inside track on trying to do all that when he gained a seat on the coveted Appropriations Committee. ... No sooner was Badger Neumann the Budget-Cutter on the committee than the Pentagon was begging for a quickie $3.2 billion appropriation to help defray costs of peacekeeping worldwide. But on three separate occasions - once on a subcommittee, then on the full committee, finally in a vote of the whole House - Neumann flouted the desire of his party leadership and said no. He had sworn during his campaign that he wouldn't vote for anything that made the deficit worse. And by most calculations, this spending bill would make it worse, in part because it spread out offsetting cuts over as many as seven years."
- Chicago Tribune, February 26, 1995

"In attacking the national debt, his first priority would be to replace the IOUs in various trust funds (Social Security, highway and environmental, among others) with real assets. The IODs now in the so-called trust funds represent nothing more than the government's commitment to raise taxes on future generations. The government has already spent the money in the trust funds, replacing real cash with the IODs. Mr. Neumann's plan [the National Debt Repayment Act] would put an end to this unconscionable practice."
- Washington Times, June 20, 1997

"Newmann is unremittingly opposed to all pork-barrel projects, even when the Federal funds would be headed to his district. His job, he says, is to protect the taxpayer from his greedy Congressional colleagues. Along with several other freshmen, he has agitated for a revamping of the entire House committee system, in order to break the hegemony of the Appropriations, Commerce, and Ways and Means committees."
- New York Times Magazine, November 3, 1996

"Two House Republican conferees refused to sign the conference report: Majority Whip Tom DeLay of Texas and Neumann, a freshman who was one of the House's most committed budget-cutters. ... Neumann compiled a list of more than $334.5 million in 'pork projects' in the conference report. Included were such things as $100,000 to expand the video conferencing capabilities for a shelter for homeless veterans in Alaska and $1 million for the 'Sake of the Salmon' demonstration project in Tanner Creek, Oregon. Neumann's list recalled Republican protests of yore, when GOP back-benchers railed against the Democratic-controlled Appropriations Committee for spending millions of dollars on bizarre-sounding agricultural research projects and other allegedly wasteful uses. ... Neumann was well-placed to steer dollars to his own district, as numerous constituents had urged him to do so. Instead, he tried to convince appropriators to drop the specific projects and let all of the revolving loan money be doled out by formula."
- Congressional Quarterly Almanac, 1996

"'I think Mark's probably the most focused Member in Congress on balancing the budget, and that, to me, makes him a delight to work with,' said Rep. Sam Brownback of Kansas, who is the New Federalists' unofficial leader. 'Plus, for him, this is a mission, not an ideology.'"
- National Journal, September 30, 1995

"Although he is reportedly a millionaire, Neumann doesn't indulge in the trappings of wealth. His suits are severe and nondescript. His Capitol Hill office has the low-rent, cluttered look of a storefront law firm. Those who know him well say he is a workaholic. He often spends seven days a week at his desk, surrounded by charts showing the inexorable growth in the federal debt over the past two decades."
- National Journal, September 30, 1995

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