As the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction continues to deliberate on a plan to reduce the federal budget, the personalities and backgrounds of the committee’s members could be extremely influential. Following is a brief profile of all twelve members of this congressional “Super Committee.” Aside from representing their respective parties, many of these committee members also represent constituencies made up of service members and Department of Defense installations. The panel's first full meeting is scheduled for September 13.
Congressman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas), Co-Chair of the “Super Committee,” has been in Congress since 2003 and currently sits as Vice-Chairman on the House Financial Services Committee. Rep. Hensarling has been described as a “financial hawk,” and his strong fiscally conservative stance suggests he will oppose tax hikes and support cutting entitlement spending.
Also appointed to the committee is Congressman Fred Upton (R-Mich.), who has represented southwest Michigan in the House of Representatives since 1987. Congressman Upton serves as Chairman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce in the 112th Congress. Formally nicknamed the “Young Slasher” for his push for reduced spending early in his career, Upton has a reputation for being tough on entitlement programs and big-budget federal spending.
John Boehner’s third House Republican pick for the Super Committee is another from the Great Lakes State, Congressman Dave Camp (R-Mich.). Congressman Camp is Chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, which handles legislation dealing with tax policy as well as entitlement programs.
Appointed to the committee by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is Congressman James E. Clyburn (D-S.C.). Congressman Clyburn, a staunch advocate for entitlement programs, has served in the house since 1993. Congressman Clyburn is the number 3 Democrat in the House and serves as Democratic Leadership Liaison to the House Appropriations Committee.
Congresswoman Pelosi also appointed Congressman Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), who gained his seat in Congress in 2003. Congressman Becerra serves on the House Committee on Ways and Means and serves as Vice Chair of the House Democratic Caucus.
The final House member on the Super Committee is Congressman Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.). Congressman Van Hollen was Majority Leader of the Maryland State Senate before being elected to Congress in 2002, and is the senior Democrat on the House Budget Committee.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell appointed Senator Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), a third-term senator who served four terms in the House to his election to the Senate. Senator Kyl serves on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over an array of topics from trade and commerce to constitutional amendments. Senator Kyl represents the State of Arizona, which is home to seven military installations.
McConnell also selected Senator Rob Portman (R-Ohio), a freshman senator who spent twelve years in the House. Senator Portman serves on the Senate Budget Committee and the Senate Armed Services Committee. Ohio is home to two military installations.
Another freshman senator representing Senate Republicans is Senator Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), who serves on the Senate Budget Committee, the Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and the Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee. Senator Toomey represents Pennsylvania’s four military installations.
Senator Max Baucus (D-Mont.) has been appointed to the Super Committee by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Senator Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee, and serves on the Agriculture, and the Environment and Public Works Committees. Senator Baucus was influential in the passage of the Affordable Care Act and will likely be a strong advocate for Medicare and Medicaid. He also represents one military installation.
Senator John Kerry (D-Mass.) was also appointed to the Super Committee. Senator Kerry has served in Congress since 1984. He currently serves on the Senate Finance Committee, the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, and chairs the Senate Foreign Committee. Senator Kerry served in the U.S. Navy from 1966-1970 and served two tours in Vietnam. He is a supporter of Medicare and Medicaid, and represents six military installations in Massachusetts.
Senator Patty Murray (D-Wash.) was appointed Co- Chair of the Super Committee. Senator Murray was elected to the Senate in 1992 and chairs the Veterans’ Affairs Committee and sits on the Committee on the budget, among others. She is also the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. Senator Murray represents six military installations in the state of Washington.