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Republicans name their slate of members for Obama deficit panel

By Lori Montgomery
Congressional Republicans on Friday named six members to President Obama's deficit-reduction commission, choosing two of the party's most respected leaders on fiscal issues as well as outspoken conservatives who said they are determined to focus the panel's efforts on cutting spending rather than raising taxes.

"Our nation is in a fiscal crisis and our future depends on stopping the spending spree in Washington that is saddling our children and grandchildren with trillions of dollars in debt," House Majority Leader John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) said in a statement.

Boehner chose the most senior Republican member of the House Budget Committee, Rep. Paul Ryan (D-Wis.), to serve on the panel, along with the ranking GOP member of the tax-writing Ways and Means Committee, Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), and Texas Rep. Jeb Hensarling, the former head of the conservative Republican Study Committee. Ryan, who has been praised by Obama as a serious thinker on budget issues, has authored his own plan for balancing the budget that would rewrite the tax code to reduce taxes on the wealthy, privatize Social Security and transform the Medicare insurance plan into a voucher program for people under 55.

"I don't believe that we need further tax increases. I believe we have a spending problem in Washington, not a taxing problem," said Hensarling, who has also endorsed Ryan's "Roadmap for America."

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) named the senior Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, Sen. Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, one of the leading advocates of the commission approach to balancing the budget. McConnell also named Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) and Tom Coburn (R-Okla.).

"Americans are rightly concerned about the growth of government, while the rest of the country has been tightening their belts," McConnell said in a statement. "Sens. Gregg, Crapo, and Coburn are serious defenders of the taxpayer, and I am confident they will provide commonsense recommendations to reduce Washington spending."

Created by Obama to develop a plan to reduce soaring budget deficits, the 18-member commission is under orders to offer a solution to Congress by Dec. 1, just after the midterm elections. Obama has named six members, including the co-chairmen, former Republican senator Alan Simpson and former Clinton chief of staff Erskine Bowles. Senate Democrats have also appointed three members, leaving only House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to make her choices and fill out the panel.

The names of the Republican appointees had been eagerly awaited, because at least two of them would have to vote for any deficit-reduction plan in order for the commission to approve it and recommend it to Congress. If the commission can reach agreement, Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) have vowed to put it to a vote in both houses of Congress before the end of the year.

By Lori Montgomery  |  March 12, 2010; 1:47 PM ET
Categories:  44 The Obama Presidency , Economy  
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Comments

I tend to think we need to cut spending AND raise taxes. My knowledge of guys like Gregg and even Coburn is that they might agree to some kind of bargain like that.
Posted by: steveboyington

--------
While I agreed with you first sentence but the second sentence warrant a response: Problem with that thinking is that the leadership in both House and Senate will make every effort to make sure it is their way or it's the highway.

Example: Remember Charles Grassley working with Baucus on the health care during the summer? It was fine until McConnell started threatening him with the lost of the coveted committee seat which caused him to do a switcheroo.

Posted by: beeker25 | March 12, 2010 5:38 PM | Report abuse

I tend to think we need to cut spending AND raise taxes. My knowledge of guys like Gregg and even Coburn is that they might agree to some kind of bargain like that. Of course, nobody in the US in any position of authority would even propose such a thing.... it would make too much sense.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 12, 2010 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Hensarling and Ryan has been selected to the deficit panel with the stated goals of not raising taxes but cut spending by quoting this:"I don't believe that we need further tax increases. I believe we have a spending problem in Washington, not a taxing problem," said Hensarling, who has also endorsed Ryan's "Roadmap for America."

Here's the problem with that argument it is equivalent of pre-determining a result with no realistic of placing everything on the table. GWB champion that when he wanted the PAYGO to focus on the spending programs but not the tax cuts he asked the Republican Congress to enact.

There are flaws in Ryan's plan because the CBO 50 pages report has put lots of caveats to say that it would reduce the deficit by the year 2083 and was told to leave out the tax and other provisions of the plan plus assuming the tax collection level in relation to the GDP something tax experts from Tax Policy Center has said to be historically unrealistic.

Hensarling has a habit of cherry picking certain things that makes his party look good while blasting the other side when in fact it was his party created the fiscal crisis in the first place.

As far as I am concern any person the congressional Republican leader, Boehner, selected and suggest is not to be believed unless it is put in good faith to truly fix the problem.

Posted by: beeker25 | March 12, 2010 5:17 PM | Report abuse

"Somewhat thinkers." Excellent phrase. These people either think somewhat, or somewhat think. But from what they say, they have no original thoughts. We will solve our deficit problem by privatizing social security? No, we will destroy social security by putting in in the hands of stock brokers and investment bankers. And that, of course, is the plan. And we will solve our deficit problem by reducing even further the taxes the very rich pay? Well, that's always the Republican solution for everything.

Posted by: lowercaselarry | March 12, 2010 5:07 PM | Report abuse

Not a bad group. At least they are somewhat thinkers. Well done.

Posted by: steveboyington | March 12, 2010 5:00 PM | Report abuse

So I guess the strategy is to name the people least likely to consider anything other than tax cuts for rich people.

If the Republicans themselves were creating this panel, would they name these guys? I would think not since they know that anything they propose would bankrupt the nation but protect the wealthy (not a good platform to stay in power).

Posted by: crw901025 | March 12, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

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