"We need to be engaging in even more cuts than we were able to make in the 2011 budget,” Nelson said at the Kearney Rotary Club, according to a news release from his office. "Let me reassure you that I’m for substantial cuts in government spending, but they must be made wisely."

Nelson, who is the chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s legislative branch subpanel, shepherded through an amendment last month that cut the Senate’s operating budget by 5 percent.