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GOP ‘supercommittee’ Picks All Anti-tax

WASHINGTON, Aug. 10 (UPI) — Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Sen. Pat Toomey were announced Wednesday as two of six GOP members of the panel charged with cutting the U.S. budget by $1.5 trillion.

House Speaker John Boehner of Ohio selected Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp and Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, both of Michigan, and Hensarling, with Hensarling serving as co-chairman of the “supercommittee” of six Democrats and six Republicans tasked with finding cuts amounting to $1.5 trillion, The Hill reported.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky appointed Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio and Toomey of Pennsylvania. Portman is a former budget director for President George W. Bush, and Toomey is a favorite of the Tea Party caucus intent on slashing government spending, the newspaper said. Both are freshman senators.

“The lawmakers I have appointed to serve on this joint committee are proven leaders who have earned the trust and confidence of their colleagues and constituents,” Boehner said. “They understand the gravity of our debt crisis, and I appreciate their willingness to serve on this panel.”

“All three of these nominees understand the gravity of our situation and all three will bring the kind of responsibility, creativity, and thoughtfulness that the moment requires,” McConnell said. “The American people know that we cannot dig ourselves out of this situation by nibbling around the edges, and I am confident that each of these nominees can be counted on to propose solutions that put the interests of all Americans ahead of any one political party.”

“This joint committee presents an opportunity for both parties to bring to the table their best ideas, debate them on the merits, and ultimately come together to do what’s best for our country,” Boehner said. “With all that’s at stake, I expect that the joint select committee will conduct its work in the open and transparent manner the American people deserve.”

All six GOP supercommittee appointees have vowed not to increase taxes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., Tuesday announced his three picks for the panel: Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus of Montana, Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry of Massachusetts and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty Murray of Washington.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., has not announced her selections. Appointments must be made by Tuesday.

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