April 27 The bipartisan panel created by
President Barack Obama to recommend ways to tackle the
skyrocketing U.S. budget deficit holds its first meeting on
The National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility is to
report its recommendations by December. The 18 members have
been chosen separately by Obama, Senate Majority Leader Harry
Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House of
Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi and House Minority Leader
Here is some information about members of the commission.
ERSKINE BOWLES, co-chairman
Bowles, the president of the University of North Carolina
since 2006, started his business career at Morgan Stanley in
New York and later founded an investment banking firm.
Former President Bill Clinton named him to lead the Small
Business Administration in 1993, and Bowles became the
president's chief of staff from 1996 to 1998. In that position,
he helped negotiate the Balanced Budget Act of 1997 with
Republican congressional leaders, producing the first balanced
U.S. budget in nearly 30 years.
ALAN SIMPSON, co-chairman
Simpson was the No. 2 Republican in the Senate for a
decade. His chief legacy in the Senate was the overhaul of U.S.
immigration law that was signed by President Ronald Reagan in
1986 after intense lobbying by special interest groups.
Simpson was also known as a strong voice for fiscal
balance, voting in favor of the 1990 bipartisan deficit
reduction agreement, a U.S. official said.
OTHER MEMBERS APPOINTED BY OBAMA
Cote, a Republican, has served as Honeywell International
(HON.N) chairman, chief executive and president since 2002. He
is a member of the U.S.-India CEO Forum, which Obama asked him
to co-chair in 2009. He adds a business perspective to Obama's
slate of representatives on the panel.
Rivlin is a former Federal Reserve vice chair who was also
budget director under Bill Clinton. She was the founding
director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office from
1975 to 1983. Now a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution,
she would bring budget savvy to the panel.
Fudge worked as chairman and chief executive of Young &
Rubicam Brands from 2003 to 2006. She previously held executive
positions at General Mills and Kraft. Fudge would bring
business experience to the budget panel.
Stern is president of the Service Employees International
Union, which covers 2.2 million workers such as healthcare
staffers, security officers and public employees. Stern would
bring a labor perspective to the panel.
NAMED BY SENATE DEMOCRATIC LEADER HARRY REID
SENATOR RICHARD DURBIN
Durbin, the No. 2 Democrat in the Senate, is a liberal from
Illinois who could be expected to oppose proposals to reduce
the yawning U.S. deficit by cuts in programs like Social
Security, the U.S. government retirement program.
SENATOR KENT CONRAD
Budget Committee Chairman Conrad, from North Dakota, is a
fiscally conservative Democrat who has advocated some cuts to
entitlement programs along with some tax hikes to close the
SENATOR MAX BAUCUS
Baucus, the Finance Committee chairman, is a moderate
Montana Democrat who worked for months in vain to try to forge
bipartisan healthcare legislation with Republicans. He has
called for tax reform and cuts in entitlements to balance the
NAMED BY SENATE REPUBLICAN LEADER MITCH MCCONNELL
SENATOR JUDD GREGG
Gregg, from New Hampshire, is the top Republican on the
Senate Budget Committee. Obama once nominated Gregg to be
commerce secretary, but Gregg withdrew from that appointment,
saying he did not support Obama's economic stimulus package.
SENATOR TOM COBURN
A medical doctor and critic of Obama's recent healthcare
overhaul, the Oklahoma Republican crusades against earmarks,
the pet projects that lawmakers tuck into spending bills.
Coburn calls them the "gateway drug to spending addiction."
SENATOR MIKE CRAPO
An Idaho Republican, Crapo is a member of the banking,
budget and finance committees. Along with Senator Charles
Schumer, Crapo has been trying -- so far unsuccessfully -- to
develop bipartisan proposals for executive pay and shareholder
rights as part of financial regulation reform.
NAMED BY HOUSE SPEAKER NANCY PELOSI
REPRESENTATIVE JOHN SPRATT
The Democrat from South Carolina is chairman of the House
Budget Committee and participated in Balanced Budget Act
negotiations in 1997 that helped put the budget into surplus.
Spratt emphasized the need to find common ground to put the
country back on solid fiscal footing.
REPRESENTATIVE XAVIER BECERRA
From California, Becerra serves as vice chairman of the
House Democratic Caucus and sits on the tax-writing House Ways
and Means Committee. He said it will be necessary to make tough
choices "to build a prosperous, debt-free future for our
REPRESENTATIVE JAN SCHAKOWSKY
The Illinois Democrat is a member of the Energy and
Commerce Committee. She is said to be a leading voice in favor
of protecting health and retirement security for seniors and to
protect the Social Security retirement and Medicare health
program for seniors.
NAMED BY HOUSE REPUBLICAN LEADER JOHN BOEHNER
REPRESENTATIVE PAUL RYAN
Ryan, from Wisconsin, is the ranking Republican on the
Budget Committee. He recently proposed a long-term plan for
deficit reduction that eventually would put the United States
in the black without raising taxes. It would do this by cutting
programs like Medicare, the U.S. government's health insurance
program for the elderly and disabled.
REPRESENTATIVE JEB HENSARLING
Hensarling, from Texas, is a member of the budget and
financial services committees who pushed for the House
Republicans' recent one-year moratorium on earmarks. He has
proposed capping federal spending at 20 percent of the U.S.
economy every year.
REPRESENTATIVE DAVE CAMP
Camp, from Michigan, is the top Republican on the House
Ways and Means Committee. He contends the U.S. budget should be
balanced without raising taxes, and favors passing an amendment
to the U.S. Constitution requiring a balanced budget.
(Compiled by Jeff Mason, David Alexander, Donna Smith and
Susan Cornwell; Editing by Will Dunham)