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Super? High Hopes, Lingering Doubts For Deficit Reduction Committee

August 17, 2011 by  

Super? High Hopes, Lingering Doubts For Deficit Reduction Committee


AN ANALYSIS


The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, created by the Budget Control Act of 2011, has powers never before given to a single group in Congress. The question is: Will this Joint Committee have the political muscle — or the will — to make substantial changes to the national deficit?

At stake is the threat of severe cuts if the Joint Committee fails to propose (or Congress fails to pass) legislation to trim at least another $1.5 trillion from the national deficit. According to a fact sheet provided by the White House after the initial deal was announced: “If the fiscal committee took no action, the deal would automatically add nearly $500 billion in defense cuts on top of cuts already made, and, at the same time, it would cut critical programs like infrastructure or education. That outcome would be unacceptable to many Republicans and Democrats alike — creating pressure for a bipartisan agreement without requiring the threat of a default with unthinkable consequences for our economy.”

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) chose Senators Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.).

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) chose Senators Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).

Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) chose Representatives Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Dave Camp (R-Mich.) and Fred Upton (R-Mich.).

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) chose Representatives James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

Now that the members of the committee have been chosen, we thought we’d take a look at who the members are and let you debate the chances that any meaningful deficit reduction will result from this new committee. What follows is a brief analysis of each Joint Committee member, some reactions to his or her appointment and what citizens can expect from each in the deficit negotiations.

Sen. Patty Murray, D-WASenator Patty Murray
(First joined Congress in 1993)

A Democrat representing Washington State, Murray is one of the Joint Committee’s co-chairs. She serves as the chairman of the Subcommittee on Employment and Workplace Safety, which is under the Health, Education, Labor & Pensions (HELP) Committee, and the chairman of the Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies, which is under the Appropriations Committee. Notably, she also serves as the chair for the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee.

“Murray’s balancing act is acute — her main political goal is to keep the Senate in Democratic hands and protect 23 Democratic-held seats, while her primary role as co-chair of the deficit committee is to work with Republicans and come up with a bipartisan deficit deal,” read a POLITICO article. According to the article, some critics worry that Murray will be unable woo Democratic donors if the Committee she co-chairs makes controversial cuts to popular entitlements.

According to her website, two of Murray’s most closely held issues are education and labor. These are the areas where she is least likely to compromise. On education, she cites her Appropriations and HELP committee assignments and says: “I have consistently fought for the resources and support our children need to succeed.” On labor, she cites her HELP committee assignments and says: “I have been able to take the lead on building a more skilled workforce, protecting workers on the job, ensuring equal pay and guaranteeing worker rights on the job.”

Sen. Max Baucus, D-MTSenator Max Baucus
(First joined Congress in 1975)

This Democrat from Montana is the chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, a senior member on the Agriculture Committee and the Environment and Public Works Committee, the chairman of the Transportation subcommittee and the chairman of the Joint Committee on Taxation. His significant seniority means that his voice will certainly carry weight in the Joint Select Committee’s negotiations, and he may be a key player in delivering votes on whatever measure the group may agree on.

Baucus’ appointment was immediately met with criticism by former Republican Senator Alan Simpson, who co-chaired President Barack Obama’s deficit reduction committee with Erskine Bowles, which Baucus sat on. Simpson told MSNBC that Baucus rarely participated in the deficit reduction committee that Simpson ran: “Max and his staff never really indicated any great interest in it, they were quite cordial. We’d meet in his office, he would often not attend the meetings and when he would, he wasn’t there for a very long length of time.” Baucus’ office reportedly denied the allegation.

When he was appointed to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, Baucus released a statement that read, in part: “Some might say there is risk in serving on a committee with such a difficult task, but I believe there is far greater risk in not tackling our deficit problems head-on… The greatest risk we face is in doing nothing.”

According to his website, Baucus is very concerned with Social Security, having specifically used his post as chair of the Finance Committee to “protect Social Security from being privatized.” However, he also claims to have used that position to “cut taxes for hard-working Montanans and Americans,” suggesting that he may find common ground with Republicans with regard to revenues.

Sen. John Kerry, D-MASenator John Kerry
(First joined Congress in 1985)

Kerry, a Massachusetts Democrat perhaps best known for his failed 2004 Presidential run, is the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee. Kerry also chairs the Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet, which is under the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee. He was a key player in passing the Affordable Care Act, as well as successfully leading the negotiations with Russia to ratify the new START nuclear arms reduction treaty.

Some liberal critics were reportedly wary of Kerry’s appointment, worried that he may be too concerned with deal-making, and not concerned enough with protecting entitlements. Alan Charney, policy and strategy director of USAction, told The Hill that Kerry’s selection was “a little bit of a surprise” after the Senator’s vocal approval of the failed grand bargain.

“My bottom line, if Sen. Kerry’s position on this new committee is such that he is for entitlement cuts, then he can’t be someone who represents the progressive liberal viewpoint on this committee,” Charney said. “It seems he’s open to cuts in entitlements. If that’s the case he’s going against the card
inal liberal principle in this debate of no cuts to entitlements.”

As the article notes, Kerry has largely focused on finding compromise in the Senate and abroad since his defeat in the 2004 election, a point also highlighted by his website: “Putting principle ahead of partisanship, John Kerry has worked with his Republican colleagues on important issues like balancing the budget and keeping government spending under control.” One thing is clear: If Kerry tries to fill the role of compromiser in the Joint Committee, he is certain to face backlash from his own party.

Sen. Jon Kyl, R-AZSenator Jon Kyl
(First joined the Congress in 1987)

Kyl, an Arizona Republican, serves as the Minority Whip, the second-highest position in Senate Republican Leadership. Kyl serves on the Judiciary and Finance Committees, and chairs the Judiciary Committee’s Subcommittee on Technology, Terrorism and Homeland Security. Interestingly, Kyl has the least to lose politically from serving on the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction: He had previously announced that he would not seek re-election in 2012.

When his appointment was announced, “compromise” seemed like the furthest thing from Kyl’s mind. “It’s going to be a challenge to get the Democrats on the committee to agree to spending reductions without raising taxes, which is what they want to do,” Kyl said in an interview with The Arizona Republic. “Whatever we do, we’ve got to be careful that we don’t hurt the prospects for economic recovery and job creation. In fact, we should be doing things that support job creation, and that’s one of the reasons why we don’t want to be raising taxes.”

According to the newspaper, Kyl says he will seek a resolution with the Joint Committee, though, because the automatic punitive cuts to defense that will trigger if they fail to pass deficit reduction are unacceptable: “[The cuts] are quite draconian on the defense side, to the point that I would work very hard to try to override them… Even the president and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and the Secretary of Defense have said they wouldn’t want those to kick in.”

The bottom line is that Kyl can almost certainly be counted on to oppose tax increases. In fact, revenues caused him to walk out on the debt negotiations with Vice President Joe Biden earlier this year. However, his record of staunchly supporting the military will also be likely to cause him to oppose further cuts to defense spending. A statement on his website reads: “The first and foremost responsibility of our federal government is to defend the security of our nation.”

Sen. Rob Portman, R-OHSenator Rob Portman
(First joined Congress in 1993)

A freshman Republican Senator from Ohio, Portman has one of the Joint Committee’s more unusual résumés: He began by serving Ohio in the House, representing the Second District. He was then asked to serve as a member of President George W. Bush’s Cabinet — the U.S. Trade Representative. Then Bush named him to another Cabinet position, the Director of the Office of Management and Budget. He now serves on the Senate Committee on the Budget, Armed Services Committee, Energy and Natural Resources Committee, and Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. He is generally regarded as a moderate.

A liberal activist group, ProgressOhio, was quick to point out Portman’s past in their criticism of his appointment, according to Business Journal Daily. The group said Portman “voted for both of Bush’s tax cuts and for Bush’s invasion of Iraq. When Rob Portman talks about fiscal nightmares, he knows exactly what he’s talking about because he helped more than most to create the one we’re in.”

However, the article points out that Portman’s fellow Ohio Senator, Democrat Sherrod Brown, was pleased with Portman’s appointment, saying that the freshman has shown “a willingness to find common ground by looking at both tax reform and spending cuts in order to reduce the deficit. It’s time to stop the bickering and put the country first to find a balanced approach to deficit reduction that addresses our top priorities: restoring the economy and putting Ohioans back to work.”

While Portman’s website refers to him as a “deficit hawk,” and he supports a Balanced Budget Amendment to the Constitution, detailed examination of his website did not reveal any issue that seems to be a particularly favored sticking point for Portman. Like Kerry, Portman will likely be a source for compromise within the Joint Committee.

Sen. Pat Toomey, R-PASenator Pat Toomey
(First joined Congress in 1999)

Pennsylvania’s freshman Senator and a Tea Party darling, Toomey serves on the Senate Committee on the Budget; the Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Committee; the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, and the Joint Economic Committee. He previously served in the House, representing Pennsylvania’s 15th District. He is also the former president of the Club for Growth, a PAC dedicated to limiting government — especially through extensive tax reform, advocating either a flat tax or fair tax.

In an interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC after his appointment to the Joint Committee, Toomey said: “This tax code is so incredibly inefficient, it’s so costly, it’s such a dead weight burden on the economy, we could simply it, get rid of so much of the junk, lower marginal rates, and I’m convinced that would have a very powerful pro-growth impact.”

In a statement on why he chose Toomey, McConnell said, Toomey’s “years of experience in the financial sector and on the House Budget Committee will… serve him well in his new role, along with an unwavering commitment to the principles of limited government and fiscal responsibility.” Without a doubt, Toomey will vehemently oppose any and all tax increases. In a statement to reporters after his appointment, Toomey drew attention to the fact that he had voted to end the ethanol-tax subsidy, a position he is likely to take again. Toomey is likely to serve as the Tea Party agenda’s main advocate on the Joint Committee.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-TXRepresentative Jeb Hensarling
(First joined Congress in 2003)

Representing Texas’ 5th District, Hensarling was chosen by Boehner to co-chair the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, probably because of his unwavering, vocal support during the debt-ceiling debate. Hensarling serves as chairman of the House Republican Conference, making him the fourth-highest ran
king member of the House’s GOP leadership. He is also the vice-chairman of the Financial Services Committee and the former chair of the Republican Study Committee. He was also on the Congressional Oversight Panel for TARP, meaning he was directly involved in overseeing the Wall Street bailouts.

According to The Center for Public Integrity, a watchdog group, Hensarling also served on the Simpson-Bowles deficit commission, and voted against the final proposal.

The Simpson-Bowles compromise “calls for a massive tax increase on the American people without fundamentally addressing the largest, long-term driver of our nation’s debt crisis — rising health care costs. You cannot change the ruinous spending path of our government if you leave the recently passed health care law virtually untouched and leave out fundamental reform of Medicare,” Hensarling said. “It is neither desirable nor necessary to increase taxes to address the nation’s fiscal crisis.”

According to his website, Hensarling is likely to support healthcare reform and streamlining the tax code. Like most of his counterparts sitting on the Republican side of the negotiating table, he will oppose revenues. However, as the article notes, “he is no tea party neophyte.” Hensarling is also no loose cannon; his opinions will have been heavily vetted by his superiors in the GOP leadership, and his opinion will echo the mainstream party line.

Rep. David Camp, R-MIRepresentative Dave Camp
(First joined Congress in 1991)

Michigan’s 4th District Representative holds significant power over America’s system of taxation. As the chair of the Ways and Means Committee, which has sole jurisdiction over tax policy and oversees tariff and trade laws, Medicare, Social Security, welfare and unemployment programs, Camp has firsthand experience with the issues that will likely be at the forefront of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction’s debates: revenues and entitlements. He also served on the Simpson-Bowles commission, and he voted against the final agreement — because of the group’s decision to suggest raising taxes.

However, Camp sent shockwaves throughout the political community with an interview he did with Reuters shortly after his appointment, when he said “everything is on the table.”

“I don’t want to rule anything in or out,” Camp reportedly said in a telephone interview with the news service. “I am willing to discuss all issues that might help us reduce our short and long-term debt and grow our economy… Everything is on the table, until we as a group rule it out.”

Still, a statement on Camp’s website seems to indicate that he will maintain his hardline stance on taxes: “Rather than returning to the same failed Washington spending policies, we must restore America’s confidence by working together to implement pro-growth, pro-job solutions. Those solutions start with spending less, advancing our pending trade agreements and transforming our broken tax code.” Judging from his record, Camp is far more likely to push deficit solutions that include tax reform, not increased revenues.

Rep. Fred Upton, R-MIRepresentative Fred Upton
(First joined Congress in 1987)

Upton represents Michigan’s 6th District. He chairs the Energy and Commerce Committee. Prior to being elected to Congress, Upton worked in the Office of Management and Budget under former President Ronald Reagan. Still, he’s an unusual choice; Upton has a long history of bucking the Republican establishment, consistently seeking across-the-aisle compromises and voting moderate.

For example, Upton helped Newt Gingrich ascend to House leadership in 1989, a Salon article explains, and Gingrich briefly named him a deputy whip for his support. However, Upton’s refusal to toe the party line quickly saw him replaced: “The whip organization doesn’t necessarily encourage individual thinking,” an Upton aide explained at the time, “and Fred’s an individual thinker.” While maintaining that Upton may actually be a great, conservative choice by Boehner, the article recounts a couple more instances of the Michigan Representative’s wavering loyalties: Obama heavily courted Upton’s vote during the stimulus debate of 2009 (unsuccessfully, but just barely so), and Upton openly supported TARP.

“I know the exploding cost of health care is at the root of our long-term fiscal challenges,” Upton said in a statement about his appointment. “No one believes this is going to be easy, but working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both Chambers of the Congress, we will work to address our fiscal challenges and get America back to work.”

Upton has recently, in his work chairing the Energy and Commerce Committee, come out swinging against the Environmental Protection Agency — he is certain to make recommendations involving the Agency. However, no one should expect him to deviate too far from the reputation he established in his first two decades in Congress. If anyone will break from the Republican establishment and attempt to compromise with the Democrats, it will be Fred Upton.

Rep. Jim Clyburn, D-SCRepresentative James Clyburn
(First joined Congress in 1993)

Clyburn is the Assistant Democratic Leader, making him the No. 3 ranking Democrat in the House. As such, he is an extremely close ally to Pelosi. He represents South Carolina’s 6th District, and is the only non-Republican in Congress representing that State.

According to The Miami Herald, in a conference call with reporters, Clyburn was reportedly eager to compromise, even on entitlements, provided that Republicans would do the same: “My top priority is to make sure the sacrifice is shared,” Clyburn said, later adding: “I don’t have any lines in the sand.”

“Rep. Clyburn has never seen a tax he doesn’t like. He’s so big government-minded he thinks money grows on trees,” Chad Connelly, chairman of the South Carolina Republican Party, told the newspaper. “To appoint a guy who has been one of the biggest parts of the problem for years to a deficit reduction committee, you are sending a message to the world that you are not serious about deficit reduction.”

According to an article from South Carolina local station WSPA, “Clyburn said that he thinks that corporate tax loopholes must be tackled to fix the problem, and that if Bush-era tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans were allowed to expire at the end of next year, the infusion of revenue would balance the
budget within two years.” Clearly, Clyburn expects to clash with Republicans on the Joint Committee over revenues, but his soft stance on entitlements may prove useful to the GOP.

Rep. Xavier Becerra, D-CARepresentative Xavier Becerra
(First joined Congress in 1993)

Representing California’s 31st District, Becerra is a member of the Ways and Means Committee and the ranking member on the Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security. He is also the vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus. He is another member of the Joint Committee that served on the Simpson-Bowles commission, and he voted against the group’s final plan because he believed it cut discretionary spending too much and did not raise taxes enough. Becerra also voted against the Budget Control Act of 2011, meaning he agreed to be a on a Joint Committee created by legislation he condemned.

Becerra’s selection for the Joint Committee caused a minor scandal when a group supporting him touted his appointment on an invitation to a fundraiser a mere two hours after he had been named.

“An emailed invitation from Jim Hart, an official with the Investment Company Institute, noted that [the event] will feature Mr. Becerra, who is ‘not only vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, but who also has just been named to the new deficit reduction committee.’ It promised attendees ‘a glimpse into what will most assuredly be the primary topic of discussion between now and the end of the year,’” read an article for The Wall Street Journal. The invitation went on to read: “This will be Mr. Becerra’s first event since being named to the commission and may be one of the first for any of the twelve members of the group.”

Becerra’s office quickly responded: “I did not know, did not ask, would not ask and I will not ask any of my supporters to use my appointment to the select committee for purposes outside its principle focus.”

The controversy over the invitation has limited the discussion on Becerra’s appointment, but his condemnation of the Budget Control Act provides insight into issues he will likely target on the Joint Committee: “Who in Washington is listening to the American people? This proposal does not speak to the values of America — it is not balanced nor does it ask for shared sacrifice. It does nothing about the main drivers of our deficits: the Bush tax cuts, and the unfunded wars in Iraq and Afghanistan… We owe it to those who built this country to protect Medicare and Social Security from being blindsided by future indiscriminate cuts.” Becerra has a long history of saying “no” in this debate to any deal that deviates from the progressive ideal, and it is doubtful that he will change his stance now.

Rep. Chris Van Hollen, D-MDRepresentative Chris Van Hollen
(First joined Congress in 2003)

Representing Maryland’s 8th District, Van Hollen is the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee. He also sat in on the ill-fated bipartisan budget talks with Biden earlier this year. He has recently gained national attention for serving as the Democratic Party’s “mouthpiece” in the debt-ceiling debate.

“He’s been Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s right-hand adviser on debt-limit talks, won the job of top-ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee after Pelosi gave him her nod late last year, and is a frequent surrogate for the party on television news programs, including Fox News Sunday,” read a POLITICO article, which published before his appointment to the Joint Committee was announced, but noted that “he would hardly be a surprise choice.”

Van Hollen may have been “Pelosi’s right-hand advisor on debt-limit talks,” but it remains to be seen whether he commands enough influence to deliver critical votes, either in an election or on the Joint Committee’s ultimate measure: “He’s not a favorite of progressives and isn’t a member of the Hispanic or Black caucuses. Moreover, there’s little indication that he’s assembled a team of loyalists who can whip together voting blocs in a leadership election,” the article read.

“Our plan should put jobs first, sharpen America’s competitive edge, ensure health and retirement security, and require shared responsibility from those who have done so well even during these tough economic times. Together, we can build a prosperous and secure future for all Americans,” Van Hollen said in a statement after his appointment. His website boasts a strong Democratic record on clean energy, and foreign relations — specifically national security policy — is considered an especially important topic to the Congressman. That said, he is likely to spend more time giving press conferences than negotiating the nuts and bolts of deficit reduction.

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  • Bert Cundle

    def·i·cit
       [def-uh-sit; Brit. also dih-fis-it] Show IPA

    noun
    1.
    the amount by which a sum of money falls short of the required amount.

    2.
    the amount by which expenditures or liabilities exceed income or assets.

    3.
    a lack or shortage; deficiency.

    4.
    a disadvantage, impairment, or handicap: The team’s major deficit is its poor pitching.

    5.
    a loss, as in the operation of a business.

    debt
       [det] Show IPA

    noun
    1.
    something that is owed or that one is bound to pay to or perform for another: a debt of $50.

    2.
    a liability or obligation to pay or render something: My debt to her for advice is not to be discharged easily.

    3.
    the condition of being under such an obligation: His gambling losses put him deeply in debt.

    4.
    Theology . an offense requiring reparation; a sin; a trespass.

    The Damn Politicains!!! Useing the Wrong Word Again!!! Politicans are the Criminals!!! Where is the Law when we need it!

  • Al Sieber

    I don’t believe these people can have any impact on where this country is headed economically.

    • home boy

      your so right. then whats the point of keeping them in office? these people would rather go down with a sinking ship then do whats right. even when their political career is on the line. but thats all of them not just this group. they refuse to stop the spending. you would think that that alone would be enough for impeachment. nobody in washington has the balls to start a process like that because they are all guilty in one way or another. so now we just wait for the system to fair and then what?

      • Al Sieber

        home boy I agree, what would be more fitting for them would be a Nuremberg style trail.

        • Al Sieber

          Trial…..

          • Simian Pete

            Forget a trial ! How about we just tar & feather them ? We’ll use Elmers School Glue colored black for the tar so they won’t have a hard time cleaning up ! Elmers school glue is water soluble, right ?

            A good time will be had by all ! Maybe it will make ‘em smarter …

          • Al Sieber

            Simian how about “Gorilla Glue”? make it permanent.

  • Andrew

    they will have a gigantic effect on the future of our country. if this comittee can agree on anything, whatever they agree on will be presented to congress, without any admendments allowed, for a yea or nay vote. if it’s not passed, our current budger provides many automatic cuts in spending. one of those cuts is a MAJOR CUT in our DEFENSE SPENDING. o has just negated congress with this 12 person comittee, and cut our defense, without anyone to point fingers at, and blame, for the demise of our countries defense. the demise of our defense has been a major objective of every enemy we have, remember the communist, islamofacist. this is an automatic cut.

    • http://facebook ADRoberts

      Think about how smart our nation looks to the world. They put Patty Murray IN CHARGE OF THE COMMITTEE. LOL LOL The whole world will be laughing at us.

    • Jana

      They are already being lobbied by LOBBYIST with what they call campaign funds etc, I call them bribes. This committee is just a way for them to get rich and still leave the rest of us hanging with a tight noose around our necks.

      I don’t hold out much hope for this committee. We need to inundate them with phone calls.

      • http://burkecomputers.blogspot.com/ DanB

        Interesting. Might I add that in addition to these people being put on the committee to aid their personal financial corruption, this committee has another probable purpose. What does this committee do? It destroys the established process. It consolidates a lot of power in a small group of people not elected to represent ALL of America. I only voted for two senators and one representative, none of which are on this committee. In essence, my vote has been nullified. I did not vote for any of these guys on the super committee. We are being setup to accept a new, unconstitutional form of government. How long before super committees are used for almost everything that Congress does? And how long before it moves from super committees to special agencies filled with the unelected “experts”, probably under the control of the White House. What will we do then when we have moved into abolishing the Constitution and balance of powers in government? That is why I find this super committee so distasteful.

    • Simian Pete

      They shouldn’t cut the defense “budget” .. what they should cut is wasteful defense “spending” .. like having bases in $RICH$ countries – y’know – the free loaders… That’s why them countries can afford socialized medicine – they have a tiny defense budget….an that’s why they live better than us – overall – with their government mandated 5 week paid vacation laws ! Their nice little shops/cafes/pubs they go to …..and can afford.

      Alot of these countries have DRACONIAN (is that word from the Athenian Constitution ?) gun control laws. They make Uncle Sam feel sorry for them because they have “innocent” disarmed populations !!!

      Well guess who is going to defend you now ? Take a good look in the mirror. Time for these countries to grow up … time for all of you to arm your populations !!!

      They ought to put the US Post Office under the Dept of Defense funding. Has anyone seen the movie “The Postman ” ? The US Post Office keeps the country “glued” together.

      700 billion a year is good. – Bring back the Raptor – and definitely build more Navy Ships, we need to modernize the Navy !! How about expanding SpaceCom – merge NASA with SpaceCom …..

      More bang for the buck, baby !!

  • Warrior

    I saw the debt debate in the senate when Marco Rubio tore kerry a new one. I saw in the congressional subcommittee hearing when Paul Ryan ripped van hollingshead a new one. It was a simple matter of major leaguer’s vs the minors.

    The d-bags are fielding a team of minor leaguer’s because that’s all they have available. So, let’s just enjoy the circus.

    • James

      Warrior, I saw the Rubio/Kerry exchange also. Rubio left Kerry with his mouth open but couldn’t think of an answer to Rubio’s tirade. And Marco Rubio has only been a Senator since January. Great!

  • Capitalist at Birth

    This group will be the beginning of the end of Capitalism in this country and the last bastion of freedom in the world.

  • Jerry

    A brilliant move on the part of our do nothing Congress
    Now they can sit back and relax. Only this special committee need worry or do any work and they will not bother because it is not their responsibility YET so their bickering will be non-existent and the main body (bodies?) of Congress can again sleep as it has been doing for lo these many years.
    Have Mercy! When are the citizens of these United States going to wake up and send some worthwhile individuals to Washington to do the Nation’s work?

    • http://facebook ADRoberts

      Organize. Then put as much pressure on your own Congressmen as you possibly can.

      • Jana

        That’s right, because the Lobbyists already are. They are being plyed with bribes.

  • James Anderson

    This committee is designed to fail. The only way that entitlements will be cut is if the Republicans agree to substantial tax increases. I keep hearing talk about “shared sacrifice”. How can that happen when 51% don’t pay any taxes at all. The current “deal” is a fraud as it really doesn’t reduce the deficit. We need to shrink the size of government.

  • jibbs

    The last four letters in American……….I Can

    The last four letters in Democrats………Rats

    End of lesson. Test to follow in November, 2012

    • Bert Cundle

      The Relationship of AMERICAN & United States. Is SUPOSED TO BE THE GOVERNMENT of EACH!!! ( NOT BOTH )

      • jibbs

        You missed the point.

        So, what was the point you tried to make?

  • http://facebook ADRoberts

    What is the conservative rating of these Congressmen. (Note they are all men except for the empty headed, radical Patty Murray). The Republicans could have done a lot better. I am going to look up the conservative ratings if I can find them.

  • azwayne

    Notice, few “NEW” elected. So how do we expect the corrupt Congress who caused our problems to “FIX” them??? I find very amusing and great distraction, better watch out what else they’re doing.

  • ONTIME

    This is just wrong, Constitutionally and by obligation, we pay these people to be our representtives not sit on their expensive butts and let someone else tell them what to do….I did not want a elected derelict to represent me.

    To me this is just another argument for salaried term limits for all elected officials and the need to control the money by using a nat’l sales or flat tax…they are rubbing your nose in their stinking blatant misbehavior..

  • FlaJim

    This unconstitutional committee is bound to fail and be disbanded, probably before the next election. Congress is abdicating its duty with its appointment. The only compromise possible is the usual one: Republicans give the most and Dems cede a tiny point. It won’t wash in the House.

  • Song

    A bunch of “empty suits”

  • James

    I believe the Committee will reduce the deficit by about half of the $1.7 trillion target. They have to reduce it by some amount, but that amount all at once is too much. Reducing more than $800 billion would have millions of Americans marching on Washington.

    • Raggs

      Smart idea there bud… Lets borrow 29 trillion and pay it off one penny a year that way we can fool all of the liberals when we raise taxes to 90% of income on the “rich” while the rest of the world goes on about their marry way leaching from people that actually work for a living.

  • John Kramer

    I hope all the members of the deficit committee will all come up with more than $2 trillion dollars in cuts over 10 years. I hope all these Democrats that are selected to the committee will propose some cuts in spending. I hope Republicans can agree on some cuts in spending Democrats propose. I hope Democrats will agree with Republicans to cut spending programs they want to cut as well as programs they don’t want to cut. I hope the Democrats will agree with Republican to reduce the size of government.

  • chuckb

    pure pipe dreams. this committee has one goal, rescind the bush tax cuts and raise tax anyway they can wrangle the wimpy republicans.
    this committee is a farce, we pay the whole congress to deal with our countries business, not for them to pass it on to a few people. everyone should call the capitol and your congressman and complain. put a stop to barry and his charades. reid and pelosi are still running the governemnt, with weak leaders such as boehner and mcconnell we can’t expect more.

  • s c

    People who have high hopes for this gaggle will buy a Monopoly game and think they’re getting real money. It is the height of stupidity to think a prez can create departments and agencies and groups out of thin air the same way he wants Americans to think money is created.
    It’s time for the ‘full faith and credit’ LIE to end. It is immoral to have faith in career criminals, and we no longer have any reason to be able to get credit. Do you REALLY expect LIARS and role models for organized crime to give a damn about making America safer or better?
    Expect a peddler to show up at your front door wanting to sell you a title to the moon.
    Put the matter to the test. See how many of our elected criminals are willing to pay off the DEBT that THEY created. Stupidity must be the new religion. What else can explain Washington or the American people?

  • CanCan

    What struck me most as I was reading through the list of reps names, was how damned long they have all been in Congress. They ALL need to be kicked out, their taxpayer paid retirement funds seized, their taxpayer paid wages confiscated, and them sent to the back of the unemployment line, pink slip in hand. Maybe they would then glean a different perspective on the other side of the tracks. Except for maybe Ron and Rand Paul, the rest of these jokers are so far out of touch with Americans and reality, it is pathetic. ‘Course I wonder who and what is more pathetic: These jokers in Congress who have been there for so long, making it their career to destroy this country, or us voters, who are dumb enough to keep on voting the same losers in term after term…

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