Aug 25 A newly-formed committee of the U.S.
Congress is beginning to look for at least $1.2 trillion in
government savings over the next decade to follow up on $917
billion in deficit reduction already set as part of an early
August budget deal.
The 12-member bipartisan panel is studying
deficit-reduction work done by others in recent years. The
so-called "super committee" must hold its first meeting by
Meanwhile, President Barack Obama is expected to outline
soon his own ideas for jump-starting the economy, including
suggestions on budget savings that could surpass the goals of
the congressional committee.
Here is a list of the six Democratic and six Republican
lawmakers in the super committee charged with finding ways to
cut the deficit.
MAX BAUCUS: A centrist leader known for his ability to work
across party lines, Baucus is chairman of the powerful Senate
Finance Committee and has urged tax reform. He was a member of
Obama's 2010 Bowles-Simpson deficit commission that offered up
around $4 trillion in savings through spending cuts and revenue
increases. He voted against the final Bowles-Simpson proposals
because they would have cut benefits for veterans and the
elderly and hurt his largely rural home state of Montana by
raising gasoline prices. He fought former President George W.
Bush's push to privatize the Social Security retirement program
and is a vocal critic of a House of Representatives Republican
plan to privatize Medicare, the health insurance program for
JOHN KERRY: The unsuccessful 2004 Democratic presidential
candidate, Kerry, of Massachusetts, is chairman of the Senate
Foreign Relations Committee and a Finance Committee member. He
has been outspoken in calling for long-term remedies for annual
budget deficits and the growing national debt. But Kerry also
wants large U.S. investments in infrastructure -- to rebuild
crumbling roads and bridges, and to create jobs. He wants to do
so with minimal government spending by creating a bank that
would help finance the projects with a revolving fund.
PATTY MURRAY: Named by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to
be co-chair of the super committee, Murray, of Washington
state, is a member of the Senate's Democratic leadership and
chairs a political committee that works to elect more Democrats
to the Senate. In 2013, she is in line to be the senior
Democrat on the Senate Budget Committee after the retirement of
it's current chair, Kent Conrad.
ROB PORTMAN: A first-term senator from Ohio, Portman knows
budget and tax issues, having worked in the Bush administration
as director of the Office of Management and Budget. When
Portman was in the House, he served on both the Budget and the
tax-writing Ways and Means Committees.
JON KYL: The second-ranking Republican in the Senate, Kyl,
of Arizona, does not plan to run for re-election next year. In
the debt limit debate, he was a strong voice against raising
taxes as part of any budget deal. He would be a tough
negotiator on the super committee.
PATRICK TOOMEY: A favorite of the conservative Tea Party
movement that has been the motivating force behind shrinking
the federal government, Toomey accused Obama administration
officials of exaggerating the risk of default if Congress
failed to raise the debt ceiling. He rejects administration
calls for tax increases and will likely take a hard line on the
need for further government spending cuts. Toomey, of
Pennsylvania, is in his first Senate term.
DAVE CAMP: The chairman of the House Ways and Means
Committee wants to balance the budget without raising taxes.
This is a key Republican goal and one that most budget experts
say cannot be met without devastating budget cuts. Camp has
said the super committee would not be the best forum for
comprehensive tax reform. He was on the Bowles-Simpson panel
and opposed its final recommendations, which he said failed to
address rising healthcare costs and included tax increases that
would impede economic growth. But in a Reuters interview in
early August, Camp, of Michigan, would not rule out tax
increases that enabled economic growth. [ID:nN1E77A0VQ]
JEB HENSARLING: As a conservative House Republican, he has
pushed for a moratorium on funding designations by lawmakers,
known as earmarks, and proposed capping federal spending at 20
percent of the size of the U.S. economy every year. Another
Bowles-Simpson member, he also opposed its recommendations. The
Texan is a co-chair of the super committee.
FRED UPTON: Now in his 13th two-year term representing a
southwest Michigan district, Upton is chairman of the powerful
House Energy and Commerce Committee. For most of his career in
the House he compiled a moderate voting record. But he has
tacked to the right more recently, working to thwart Obama
administration efforts to rein in greenhouse gas pollution
blamed for global warming.
XAVIER BECERRA: A rank-and-file party lieutenant, the vice
chairman of the House Democratic Caucus sits on the tax-writing
Ways and Means Committee. He is close to fellow Californian and
Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi. He was on the Bowles-Simpson
panel and opposed its final report. A solid liberal, Becerra
also has ties to the White House. At the start of Obama's
presidency, he was offered the job of U.S. trade
representative, which he turned down.
CHRIS VAN HOLLEN: Another party stalwart, the top Democrat
on the House Budget Committee was part of a bipartisan group
led by Vice President Joe Biden that tried unsuccessfully
earlier this year to forge a deficit deal. From Maryland, he is
former chairman of the House Democratic Campaign Committee and
also is a Pelosi confidant.
JAMES CLYBURN: The senior member of the South Carolina
delegation to Congress, he is the No. 3 House Democrat and a
Pelosi ally. Clyburn also is an influential member of the
Congressional Black Caucus.
(Reporting by Kevin Drawbaugh, Richard Cowan, Donna Smith and
Thomas Ferraro; Editing by Vicki Allen)