GOP picks conservative members to serve on White House debt commission

Congressional Republicans named archconservatives to the White House fiscal commission, signaling they won't support tax increases to rein in deficits.

Senate Republicans chose Sens. Judd Gregg (N.H.), Mike CrapoMike CrapoOvernight Regulation: Senate Banking panel huddles with regulators on bank relief | FCC proposes 2M fine on robocaller | Yellowstone grizzly loses endangered protection Overnight Finance: Big US banks pass Fed stress tests | Senate bill repeals most ObamaCare taxes | Senate expected to pass Russian sanctions bill for second time All big US banks pass Dodd-Frank stress tests MORE (Idaho) and Tom CoburnTom Coburn'Path of least resistance' problematic for Congress Freedom Caucus saved Paul Ryan's job: GOP has promises to keep Don't be fooled: Carper and Norton don't fight for DC MORE (Okla.) as their representatives on the bipartisan panel created by President Barack ObamaBarack ObamaMichelle Obama surprises Chance the Rapper with BET Awards video Former Obama aide: ‘We followed the book’ in response to Russian meddling Scarborough: Obama controlling Trump with 'Jedi mind tricks' MORE. The three House GOP members are Reps. Paul RyanPaul RyanFuneral for the filibuster: GOP will likely lay Senate tool to rest This week: Senate races toward ObamaCare repeal vote GOP’s message on ObamaCare is us versus them MORE (Wis.), Dave Camp (Mich.) and Jeb Hensarling (Texas).

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The Republicans will join congressional Democrats and officials chosen by the Obama administration to produce a package of proposals aimed at bringing the deficit down to a sustainable level by 2015.

The panel may consider tax increases, spending cuts and entitlement reforms. As Obama has said, "everything is on the table."

But the selections announced Friday suggest Republicans won't go along with tax hikes.

“Americans are rightly concerned about the growth of government, while the rest of the country has been tightening their belts,” said Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellDoctors can do messaging on Republican healthcare reform OPINION: Trump's right — GOP health bill is mean, mean, mean Conway: ObamaCare 'robbed people of choices' MORE. “Sens. Gregg, Crapo and Coburn are serious defenders of the taxpayer, and I am confident they will provide commonsense recommendations to reduce Washington spending.”

Gregg was an obvious choice — he proposed a bipartisan fiscal commission and serves as the ranking member of the Senate Budget Committee. By choosing Coburn, whose opposition to taxes and spending has earned him the nickname "Dr. No," McConnell (R-Ky.) is sending a signal that Republicans will try to hold the line on taxes.

All of the House GOP picks are also archconservatives. Ryan, Camp and Hensarling "know what it takes to address our long-term challenges while protecting taxpayers," said House Minority Leader John BoehnerJohn BoehnerRyan reminds lawmakers to be on time for votes Juan Williams: GOP fumbles on healthcare The Hill's 12:30 Report MORE (R-Ohio).

Democrats criticized House Republicans for choosing conservative members who have backed reforms to senior entitlement programs.

"It speaks volumes about the GOP agenda for America that the three House Republican members named to the deficit commission strongly
support privatizing Social Security and all voted last year to dismantle Medicare as we know it," said Doug Thornell, spokesman for Rep. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), a member of House Democratic leadership.

Ryan's plan to balance the budget, which has been endorsed by Hensarling, finds savings by changing entitlement programs for those
currently 55 or younger. Under Ryan's proposal, when people in that age range retire, they would be allowed to invest a third of their
Social Security benefits in private retirement accounts and would get government vouchers to buy private health insurance instead of being
put on the current Medicare system.

Deficits will average nearly $1 trillion over the next decade, according to the Congressional Budget Office. While economists and the White House argue that deficits must be at 3 percent of the economy at most to be sustainable, the deficits under Obama policies wouldn't drop below levels equal to 4 percent of the economy.

Senate Democrats have named Sens. Dick DurbinDick DurbinDem senator: GOP's healthcare approach will 'devastate Medicaid' Sunday shows preview: Senate healthcare debate heats up Dems push for more action on power grid cybersecurity MORE (Ill.), Max BaucusMax BaucusLawmakers: Leave advertising tax break alone GOP: FBI firing won't slow agenda White House tax-reform push is ‘game changer,’ says ex-chairman MORE (Mont.) and Kent Conrad (N.D.) to the commission. House Democrats have yet to name their members.

President Obama has chosen former GOP Sen. Alan Simpson (Wyo.) and former Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles as the panel's co-chairmen.

This story was updated at 5:05 p.m.