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Aug 11 2011

Congressional Game of Chicken: Super Catfood Committee Members

(4 pm. – promoted by ek hornbeck)

Yes, we are still playing and the Republicans have the advantage. So far they have won 98% of everything they asked for and are still holding hostages. The new extra-constitutional super committee of 12 will start work on the next round of hostage negotiations. Composed equally of Democrats and Republicans, three of each from the Senate and the House, the committee is tasked with finding $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts. Here are the members that have been selected by the leadership:

The Senate

Democrats

  • Sen. Patty Murray (WA) was selected by Reid to be co-chair of the committee. “The Mom in Tennis Shoes” is the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. The feeling is that she will consider the electoral implications of the policy decisions.
  • Sen. John Kerry (MA) is the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and is expected to be central to cutting defense spending.
  • Sen. Max Baucus (MT) is the chairperson of the Senate Finance Committee and is expected to be the leading voice on tax policy.

None of these Senators were part of the “Gang of Six” that was working with Vice President Joe Biden. They are not particularly trusted by liberals and some feel that Kerry is the weakest link. Baucus who was on the original Cat Food Commission, dissented because of cuts to Social Security and Medicare. He is also protective of the Affordable Health Care Act which was his “baby” as chair of the SFC. Kerry, however, has said that he supported the President’s “grand bargain” that put Social Security and Medicare under attack. Murray is a friend of the big defense contractors who received $5.2 billion in defense contracts in her home state.

The Republicans

  • Sen. John Kyl(AZ),retiring at the end of his term, was a member of the “Gang Of Six” who walked out of the talks and is the minority whip.
  • Sen. Rob Portman [OH], a freshman senator, was George W. Bush’s budget director and a member of the original Cat Food Commission .
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (PA), backed by the Tea Party and a freshman senator, was the president of Club for Growth and is the only Republican pick to vote against the debt ceiling compromise passed last week.

All three have signed “President” Grover Norquist’s pledged not to raise taxes.

The House

Democrats:

  • Rep. Jim Clyburn (SC), was a member of the “Gang of Six” and is a fierce opponent of cuts to Social Security and Medicare.
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (MD), also a memeber of the “Gang of Six”, is the ranking member on the House Budget Committee and opposed to cuts in the big three social safety nets.
  • Rep. Xavier Becerra (CA), has voted consistently to protect Social Security and Medicare.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has said that they’ll focus on economic growth and job creation, which reduces deficit.

Republicans:

  • Rep. Dave Camp (MI), chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, is the head tax-law writer in the chamber.
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (TX) is one of Boehner’s deputies on the GOP leadership team.
  • Rep. Fred Upton (MI) is the only Republican with a moderate record.

All three have again signed the Norquist Pledge.

So there you have it. We are damned no matter what happens on this committee.

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