Congressional leaders have announced the membership of the “super committee” established by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Public Law 112-25). Under the law, the bicameral committee is equally divided among Democrats and Republicans, with three members from each party appointed by the Majority and Minority Leaders of the House and Senate. Under the provisions of the Budget Control Act, the super committee is charged with reporting an additional $1.2-$1.5 trillion in federal spending cuts, entitlement reforms, new revenue, or some combination of the three by the end of the year. The panel’s recommendations would be fast-tracked to the floor of each chamber for a vote. If the committee fails to identify the required level of savings or if the measure fails to pass Congress and be signed into law by the President, automatic budget cuts would be made to discretionary and defense/security programs. This is in exchange for a second debt ceiling increase that will be required to take the country into 2013.
From the Senate, the super committee members include Senator Max Baucus (D-MT), Senator John Kerry (D-MA), Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Senator Rob Portman (R-OH), and Senator Patrick Toomey (R-PA). House members will be, Representative Dave Camp (R-MI), Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA), Rep. James E. Clyburn (D-SC), and Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD). Senator Murray and Rep. Hensarling will serve as the committee’s co-chairmen.
The membership includes a mix of senior members of Congress. Some members of the panel, including Rep. Hensarling, Rep. Van Hollen, Rep. Clyburn, and Senator Murray, have held political and campaign leadership positions for their parties. Other members, such as Senators Portman and Baucus have extensive budget experience, and many of the remaining members hold senior posts on important committees with jurisdiction over tax policy and entitlement programs. Many of the members were involved in budget negotiations with Vice President Biden earlier this year and all have strong relationships with their parties’ political leadership. Moreover, four committee members served on the Bowles-Simpson deficit reduction panel that proposed a suite of actions to trim $4 trillion from the federal deficit. However, all four members voted against the final recommendations of the Bowles-Simpson commission.
Of note, the recent and brief ballyhoo for the Senate’s “Gang of Six,” a bipartisan group of six Senators who were working to identify a bipartisan deficit reduction plan, has apparently dissipated. None of the members of that group were named to the super committee.
To learn more about these members of Congress or your member of Congress, please visit the AIBS Legislative Action Center at http://capwiz.com/aibs/dbq/officials/.
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