Sen. McCain credits the Tea Party for deficit agreement

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McCain said he personally would vote for a balanced-budget amendment.

“It will eventually pass, because that's what most Americans want,” he said. McCain said the process would be gradual.

A vote on the balanced-budget amendment is one stipulation of the deficit bargain announced by President Obama and congressional leaders on Sunday evening.

McCain also defended the 12-member congressional committee included in the deal.

“I have the confidence that the selections will be people that have the credentials to act in the best interests of the country,” McCain said, without revealing whether he knows specifics on the selection process.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have been wary of the idea of a bicameral panel appointed from both chambers of Congress that would be tasked with recommending spending cuts as part of a deficit deal. Although House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) included a similar panel — what he called a “joint select committee” — in his two-step deficit deal, Republicans have been leery of a panel that might recommend raising taxes as part of a deficit strategy.

Others have criticized the appointment of yet another bipartisan panel when other similar bipartisan groups have little to show for their efforts.

McCain said this committee would be different from the Senate’s “Gang of Six” or the president’s Simpson-Bowles Commission. “No commission has ever been like that, because this requires an up-or-down vote only,” McCain said.

The plan calls for a committee that would put together recommendations for a $1.5 trillion deficit-reduction package that would require mandatory action by Congress in the form of a vote for or against implementation.