Friday, August 26, 2011

SPECIAL COVERAGE - The Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction

The joint Committee will be the main focus of potential Medicare and Social Security changes for the rest of the year.  (Of course, there will be some interesting things from the Republican Presidential candidates.)  Here's a look at where things stand:


"Few observers of Congress think a new bipartisan panel will achieve its goal of approving a federal deficit reduction plan of at least $1.2 trillion during the next decade and preventing automatic cuts to Medicare, defense and other areas.  Either way, hundreds of billions in cuts to federal health care programs are on the table."  Read:  Medicare pay cuts among tough choices for bipartisan debt panel.

The members:  FACTBOX - U.S. deficit super committee members (from Reuters).

Right Now

"The supercommittee might not have a staff director, rules in place, or a room to meet in, but leaders of the powerful budget-slashing panel insisted Wednesday that progress is being made.  Co-chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said in a joint-statement that they’re engaged in 'serious discussions' on the details.  'We are confident that most Americans will agree that when building an organization from the ground-up with a short timetable for success, it’s important to get it right the first time,' Murray and Hensarling said in the statement."

The Panel Members Speak (Sometimes)

A little bit about where each Joint Committee member stands right now:

Senator Max Baucus (D-MT) -- Chair of the Senate Finance Committee with jurisdiction over taxes and health care spending; a key architect of the Affordable Care Act --
               > Baucus says partisanship in D.C. must stop

Senator John Kerry (D-MA) -- Former Presidential candidate, one of the more liberal Senators and a veteran congressional negotiator --
               > Debt panel to test Kerry’s diplomacy

Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) -- Chair of the Democratic Senate Campaign Committee and official co-chair of the Joint Committee --
               > Patty Murray visits Sammamish

Senator Jon Kyl (R-AZ) -- The second ranking Republican in the Senate, part of the failed bipartisan negotiations led by Vice President Biden earlier this year --
               > No statements or coverage noted.

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) -- Freshman Senator from Pennsylvania, voted against the debt ceiling increase and vehemently opposed to any new taxes --
               > No statements or coverage noted.

Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) -- Freshman Senator from Ohio, former Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for President George W. Bush --

Congressman James Clyburn (D-SC) -- The third ranking Democrat in the House --
               > No statements or coverage noted.

Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-CA) -- Ally of Nancy Pelosi, voted against the debt ceiling deal because it was not a balanced approach (did not include new tax revenue) --
               > No statements or coverage noted.

Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) -- Ranking member on House Budget Committee, played key role in debt ceiling negotiations and the former chair of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee --

Congressman Fred Upton (R-MI) -- Chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee which overseas health care spending issues --
               > GOP's Upton decries Social Security changes

Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) -- Chair of the House Ways and Means Committee which has jurisdiction over taxes and health care spending --
               > No statements or coverage noted.

Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) -- Vice Chair of House Financial Services Committee and official co-chair of the Joint Committee --
               > Liberal group protests GOP congressman


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