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 CrapoOvernight Regulation: Feds push to clarify regs on bump stocks | Interior wants Trump to shrink two more monuments | Navajo Nation sues over monument rollback | FCC won't delay net neutrality vote | Senate panel approves bill easing Dodd-Frank rules Overnight Finance: GOP delays work on funding bill amid conservative demands | Senate panel approves Fed nominee Powell | Dodd-Frank rollback advances | WH disputes report Mueller subpoenaed Trump bank records Senate panel moves forward with bill to roll back Dodd-Frank MORE (Idaho) and Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnFormer GOP senator: Trump has a personality disorder Lobbying World -trillion debt puts US fiscal house on very shaky ground MORE (Okla.) as their representatives on the bipartisan panel created by President Barack ObamaBarack Hussein ObamaPatagonia files suit against Trump cuts to Utah monuments Former Dem Tenn. gov to launch Senate bid: report Eighth Franken accuser comes forward as Dems call for resignation MORE. The three House GOP members are Reps. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanMcConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees House Republican: 'I worry about both sides' of the aisle on DACA Overnight Health Care: 3.6M signed up for ObamaCare in first month | Ryan pledges 'entitlement reform' next year | Dems push for more money to fight opioids 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 McConnellGOP strategist donates to Alabama Democrat McConnell names Senate GOP tax conferees Brent Budowsky: A plea to Alabama voters 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 BoehnerJohn Feehery: A political forest fire Trump's pick for Federal Reserve chief is right choice at right time The two-party system is dying — let’s put it out of its misery 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 DurbinDemocrats turn on Al Franken Minnesota's largest newspaper calls on Franken to resign Democratic senator predicts Franken will resign Thursday MORE (Ill.), Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusBooker tries to find the right lane  Top Lobbyists 2017: Hired Guns GOP tries to keep spotlight on taxes amid Mueller charges 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.