Cantor: Lawmakers asking to serve on ‘supercommittee’

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) said he's been receiving "a lot of calls and emails" from Republican legislators about serving on the new deficit reduction "supercommittee" created by the debt deal.

"The Speaker is the one who makes the selection, and I have gotten a lot of calls and emails from members who want to serve and want to participate in solving the problem," Cantor said Wednesday in an interview with The Wall Street Journal's Peggy Noonan.

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As part of the debt-ceiling increase legislation passed on Tuesday, which raises the debt limit by $2.1 trillion while also cutting $1 trillion in spending over 10 years, a bicameral, joint committee of 12 legislators is charged with finding at least $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction. The Republican and Democratic leaders in the House and Senate will each pick three members to be on the committee.

Since the debt-limit-increase legislation passed, lawmakers have begun to weigh in on who might be good for the supercommittee.

On Tuesday, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio), who formerly headed the Office of Management and Budget, would be a good selection for the committee.

"I’m not making the decisions but one of my candidates would be Rob Portman, former head of OMB. A very sober, knowledgeable person, I think, those are the kind of people that are going to be on this committee," McCain told Neil Cavuto on Fox News.


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Congressional leaders have to pick the members of the committee by Aug. 16.

Cantor did not say whether or not he wanted to be on the committee. 

In the same interview, Cantor said that the committee's focus had to stay on cutting spending.

"I think the focus needs to stay on spending, this select committee has been tasked with the job of trying to identify those cuts," Cantor said. "The House won't support increasing taxes."

Some Democrats have said that the Democratic members on the committee would push for added revenues as part of any recommendation for reducing the deficit. Democrats had previously pushed for added revenues in the form of tax increases or ending certain tax subsidies in any debt-limit-increase package, but added revenues didn't end up in the final bill.

This story was updated at 1:25 p.m.