Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid and Senate and House Republican leaders have announced their selections for the deficit-reduction “super committee.” The 12-person council will attempt to cut about $1.5 trillion in federal spending over the next decade.
Reid will appoint Sens. Patty Murray, Wash.; Max Baucus, Mont.; and John Kerry, Mass.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell selected Sens. Jon Kyl, Ariz.; Pat Toomey, Pa.; and Rob Portman, Ohio.
House Speaker John Boehner picked Reps. Jeb Hensarling, Texas; Dave Camp, Mich.; and Fred Upton, Mich.
House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi has yet to name her three picks.
The group will have until Nov. 23 to craft a plan, which must be approved by seven of its 12 members. If Republicans refuse to cooperate with their Democratic partners, cuts to Medicare, national security and other programs will occur automatically. —ARK
The Huffington Post:
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will appoint Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) to the congressional debt-reduction “super committee” tasked with finding roughly $1.5 trillion in savings over the next decade. Murray will serve as one of the committee’s two co-chairs, alongside a House Republican.
... Reid’s picks suggest that he favored committee chairs and senior members of the party over some of the younger, more progressive-minded senators. Murray chairs the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee and will undoubtedly keep electoral implications in mind as she weighs various policy suggestions. Kerry, who chairs the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is a top foreign policy voice in the party and will likely play a central role in carving out the cuts made to defense appropriations. Baucus, who chairs the Senate Finance Committee, is a leading figure on tax policy, another legislative component that falls within the committee’s purview. None of the three were part of the so-called Gang of Six -– the informal bipartisan group of senators who worked to craft a debt reduction plan of their own.
The choices are not particularly trusted in liberal circles either, in part because of concerns that moneyed interests may come in to play when it comes time to negotiate. In FY 2009, for instance, companies in Murray’s home state of Washington received $5.2 billion in defense contracts. Boeing Inc. is the fourth biggest contributor to Murray over the course of her career, according to data gathered by the Center for Responsive Politics.
Flickr / Center for American Progress Action Fund
In making his “super committee” selections, Sen. Harry Reid turned to senior Democrats instead of younger, more progressive-minded senators.