Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget

Congressional Leaders Naming Appointees to Joint Committee

Aug 11, 2011

Updated to reflect House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's appointments.

Over the past several hours, congressional leadership has begun naming the lawmakers for the 12 member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, created as part of the recent debt ceiling deal. The debt deal stipulated that the appointees must be named within two weeks of passage, or August 16th. On Tuesday night Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) made his choices and yesterday Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) nominated theirs. Today, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) has made her choices. Senator Murray and Rep. Hensarling will be the co-chairs of the new committee.

The members are:

To recap: the special joint committee, made up of 6 Democrats and 6 Republicans, is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction over the next ten years, or face a sequestration in 2013 of 50 percent defense and 50 percent domestic spending. The committee must agree on deficit reduction measures by a simple majority and recommend them to Congress by November 23rd, and Congress must vote on them by December 23rd.

As the recent debt downgrade from S&P signals, we are running out of time to address our long-term fiscal challenges. The special joint committee should at least double its target from $1.5 trillion in savings to no less than $3 trillion in order to stabilize and reduce debt as a share of the economy. The committee must focus on making fundamental reforms to slow the growth in Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid spending while also revamping the tax code to improve efficiencies, fairness, and growth.

The committee has a huge opportunity over the coming months to help get the country on a healthy fiscal track. CRFB congratulates all the newly appointed members on their new responsibilities and wish them success in hopefully going beyond their mandate to truly control our mounting debt.