OPIOID SERIES:

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 CrapoLobbyist whose wife rented to Pruitt steps down Americans are set for relief from an Obama-era financial rule Watchdog files complaint GOP senator did not report fundraisers held at condo co-owned by lobbyist’s wife MORE (Idaho) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnPension insolvency crisis only grows as Congress sits on its hands Paul Ryan should realize that federal earmarks are the currency of cronyism Republicans in Congress shouldn't try to bring back earmarks MORE (Okla.) as their representatives on the bipartisan panel created by President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaUS set to admit fewest refugees in decades: report NRATV host says Obama owes Parkland students an apology over shooting Paltry wage gains, rising deficits two key tax reform concerns MORE. The three House GOP members are Reps. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanScalise released from hospital after planned surgery GOP sold Americans a bill of goods with tax reform law Impeaching Rosenstein? Some Republicans are talking about it 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 McConnellPompeo lacks votes for positive vote on panel GOP poised to advance rules change to speed up Trump nominees Trump has not invited Democrats, media to state dinner: report 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 BoehnerA warning to Ryan’s successor: The Speakership is no cakewalk With Ryan out, let’s blow up the process for selecting the next Speaker Race for Republican Speaker rare chance to unify party for election 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 DurbinHannity, Kimmel, Farrow among Time's '100 Most Influential' The Hill's Morning Report: 200 Days to the Election Dems walk tightrope on Pompeo nomination MORE (Ill.), Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusGreen Party puts Dem seat at risk in Montana Business groups worried about Trump's China tariffs plan Farmers hit Trump on trade in new ad 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.