Super-committee begins to take shape
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After months of contentious negotiations, lawmakers finally came to an agreement to raise the debt ceiling and address the country’s enormous debt burden. Signed into law by President Obama, the debt limit agreement created a bipartisan super committee assigned to find spending cuts to reduce the nation’s long-term deficit.
The panel is specifically tasked, under the debt ceiling deal, with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in budget savings over 10 years by November 23. Its recommendations must be voted on by Congress by December 23. If either deadline goes unmet, automatic spending cuts are triggered in 2013.
Party leaders in both the House and Senate were tasked with appointing members to the joint super-committee.
With his announcement yesterday, Senate Majority Leader Reid (D-NV) was the first to make his selections, naming Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) and Senator John Kerry (D-MA) to the committee.
Today, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) made his picks, choosing Rep. John Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI).
Shortly after the Speaker’s announcement, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) appointed Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA), and Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) to the committee.
Each leader released a statement following the choices. See excerpts below from each.
From Senator Reid:
I have great faith in Senator Murray as the co-chair of the committee. Her years of experience on the Senate Budget and Appropriations committees have given her a depth of knowledge on budget issues, and demonstrated her ability to work across party lines. Senators Baucus and Kerry are two of the Senate’s most respected and experienced legislators. Their legislative accomplishments are matched only by their records of forging strong bonds with their Republican colleagues.
From Speaker Boehner:
Our debt and deficits are a threat to our economy, and America cannot achieve long-term job growth until we take action to address this crisis. In the weeks ahead, a serious, bipartisan committee of lawmakers will begin the hard but necessary work of making the tough choices needed to rein in mandatory and entitlement spending, which are the drivers of our debt. The lawmakers I have appointed to serve on this joint committee are proven leaders who have earned the trust and confidence of their colleagues and constituents. They understand the gravity of our debt crisis and I appreciate their willingness to serve on this panel.
From Senator McConnell:
My main criteria for selecting members was to identify serious, constructive senators who are interested in achieving a result that helps to get our nation’s fiscal house in order,” McConnell said. “That means reforming entitlement programs that are the biggest drivers of our debt, and reforming the tax code in a way that makes us more competitive and leads to more American jobs. The goal is to achieve a result that convinces Americans and the world that we’re committed as a nation to prosperity for all our citizens
House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi has yet to announce her three House Democrat appointments. Regardless of who is appointed, we hope the super-committee can prove their critics wrong and come to a substantive, actionable agreement to make significant and meaningful spending cuts.
Stay tuned to BankruptingAmerica.org for the latest developments on the super-committee.