Reid appoints two lawmakers to deficit-reduction panel

As the majority leader, Reid was asked to appoint four negotiators but opted to choose two instead. President Obama called for the creation of the bipartisan panel in a speech on Wednesday with an aim to have a plan ready by July. 

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) have also been asked to appoint four members each.

In addition to Durbin, Senate Budget Chairman Conrad and Warner, the Gang of Six includes Republicans Tom Coburn of Oklahoma, Saxby Chambliss of Georgia and Mike Crapo of Idaho. They have been working to draft legislation based on recommendations the president’s fiscal commission announced in December. 

That group was led by former Sen. Alan Simpson (R-Wyo.) and former White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles and called for cuts of $4 trillion in spending in 10 years.