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Santorum Backs Toomey for OMB Director


Apparently hoping to heal some wounds, Republican Sen. Rick Santorum (R.-Pa.), who angered many conservatives when he supported liberal Sen. Arlen Specter against Rep. Pat Toomey (R.-Pa.) in this year’s Pennsylvania Senate primary, now says Toomey would be a good choice to head the Office of Management and Budget in the Bush White House.

“Yes, Pat would be outstanding in that position if it should become vacant,” Santorum told me after a luncheon of conservatives held before the election. “He understands the issue of cutting spending about as well as anyone in Congress and he would also have an excellent relationship with his former colleagues.”

There are rumors that present OMB chief Josh Bolten may move to another position in the administration. Should Secretary of the Treasury John Snow return to the private sector, Bolten is considered a top prospect for that job.

Toomey, a Harvard graduate, is a former investment banker and restaurateur. He became a hero to conservatives during his service on the House Budget and Financial Services committees, where he was an outspoken advocate of tax cuts and reduced spending. He did not mind mixing it up with members of the House Appropriations Committee over pork barrel spending, declaring at one point: “We’ve got three parties in Congress–Republicans, Democrats, and Appropriators.”

Were Bush to tap Toomey for OMB it would send a strong signal that he is serious about using his second term to bring runaway government spending under control.