Last week the president signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 that required the naming of a 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years. Today, the last picks were announced and the membership of the committee, dubbed by many the “super committee,” is now complete.
According to the law, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) each had three selections.
Speaker Boehner selected Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to be co-chair and added Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). Hensarling is chair of the House Republican Conference, while Upton is chair of the House Mays and Means Committee (House tax writing committee) and Camp chairs the House Energy Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Reid picked Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) as co-hair the committee and added Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). Murray chairs a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee and the Appropriations Transportation/Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee and is a member of the Defense and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Subcommittees. Sen. Kerry is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former democratic presidential candidate (2004). Sen. Baucus is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee (Senate tax writing committee).
House Minority Leader selected Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA). Rep. Clyburn is the assistant Democratic leader. Rep. Van Hollen is the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee and Rep. Becerra is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Budget Committee.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell picked Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). Sen. Kyl serves on the Senate Judiciary and the Senate Finance Committees. Sen. Portman serves on the Senate Budget, Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, and Homeland Security Committees. Sen. Toomey is a member of the Senate Budget, Banking, and Commerce Committees.
The Select Committee has until November 23, 2011 to report a legislative proposal to achieve $1.5 trillion in deficit savings. By October 14, 2011 each congressional committee can submit recommendations for deficit reduction to the Select Committee for consideration. The committee will consider a combination of additional discretionary funding cuts and entitlement and tax reforms before preparing the report of its legislative recommendations. That report requires the approval of a majority of committee members.
If the committee fails to produce recommended legislation achieving at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions, the bill sets automatic procedures to cut $1.2 trillion more from federal budgets through FY2021. Of this amount, $600 billion would come from security budgets, including defense.