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 CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoGOP senators introduce bill to prevent family separations at border All the times Horowitz contradicted Wray — but nobody seemed to notice Senate Dems want watchdog to probe if SEC official tried to pressure bank on gun policies MORE (Idaho) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnMr. President, let markets help save Medicare Pension insolvency crisis only grows as Congress sits on its hands Paul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism MORE (Okla.) as their representatives on the bipartisan panel created by President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaObama to visit Kenya, South Africa for Obama Foundation in July Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos Clarifying the power of federal agencies could offer Trump a lasting legacy MORE. The three House GOP members are Reps. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanGeorge Will: Vote against GOP in midterms Trump tweet may doom House GOP effort on immigration On The Money — Sponsored by Prudential — Trump floats tariffs on European cars | Nikki Haley slams UN report on US poverty | Will tax law help GOP? It's a mystery 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 McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellPolitical figures pay tribute to Charles Krauthammer Charles Krauthammer dies at the age of 68 Overnight Energy: EPA declines to write new rule for toxic spills | Senate blocks move to stop Obama water rule | EPA bought 'tactical' pants and polos 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 Andrew BoehnerFormer top Treasury official to head private equity group GOP strategist Steve Schmidt denounces party, will vote for Democrats Zeal, this time from the center 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 DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinThe Hill's Morning Report — Sponsored by PhRMA — Immigration drama grips Washington Senate Gang of Four to meet next week on immigration Live coverage: High drama as hardline immigration bill fails, compromise vote delayed MORE (Ill.), Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusClients’ Cohen ties become PR liability Green Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan 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.