The GOP has announced its picks for the powerful "supercommittee" established to find $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts.
Speaker John BoehnerJohn BoehnerNunes rebuffs calls for recusal Wounded Ryan faces new battle Bottom Line MORE (R-Ohio) appointed Ways and Means Committee Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) to serve on the panel. Hensarling will serve as co-chairman.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellMitch McConnellLobbying world Overnight Healthcare: McConnell throws cold water on reviving ObamaCare repeal | House GOP insists they aren't giving up | Price faces new task of overseeing health law McConnell: ObamaCare 'status quo' will stay in place moving forward MORE (R-Ky.) appointed his deputy, Sens. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.), Rob PortmanRob PortmanMcCaskill investigating opioid producers Overnight Finance: Senators spar over Wall Street at SEC pick's hearing | New CBO score for ObamaCare bill | Agency signs off on Trump DC hotel lease GOP senators offer bill to require spending cuts with debt-limit hikes MORE (R-Ohio), a Budget director in the George W. Bush administration, and Tea Party favorite Pat Toomey (R-Pa.).
"All three of these nominees understand the gravity of our situation and all three will bring the kind of responsibility, creativity, and thoughtfulness that the moment requires," McConnell said. "The American people know that we cannot dig ourselves out of this situation by nibbling around the edges, and I am confident that each of these nominees can be counted on to propose solutions that put the interests of all Americans ahead of any one political party."
The two leaders took slightly different approaches to their selections. While McConnell appointed two freshman senators — Portman and Toomey — Boehner did not pick any members of the House GOP's freshman class, opting instead to go with veteran lawmakers.
Boehner did not select House Budget Committee Chairman Paul RyanPaul RyanOvernight Finance: White House wants to slash billions | Ryan: Don't tie Planned Parenthood to gov't funding | Report: Trump wants to move tax reform, infrastructure together Nunes endures another rough day Pavlich: Bad bills worse than no bills MORE (R-Wis.), the party’s fiscal guru and author of the chamber's controversial budget plan. Ryan said in a statement he had asked not to be chosen so that he could focus on the regular budget process.
The Speaker notably passed over House Armed Services Committee Chairman Buck McKeon (R-Calif.), who had called for a strong defense voice on the committee, given the automatic cuts to security spending that will result from a set trigger if the group fails to achieve its goals.
Boehner said he believes the committee will operate transparently, as many members of Congress have insisted.
"This joint committee presents an opportunity for both parties to bring to the table their best ideas, debate them on the merits, and ultimately come together to do what's best for our country," Boehner said. "With all that's at stake, I expect that the joint select committee will conduct its work in the open and transparent manner the American people deserve."
The six conservative stalwarts picked for the supercommittee have all vowed to oppose tax increases, a fact that appears to make it less likely that the group will go beyond its mandate to find $1.5 trillion in deficit cuts. Of the group of six, Portman was most open to the deficit-cutting plan put forward by the bipartisan Senate Gang of Six that included revenue increases.
Upton and Camp, the chairmen of the two House committees in charge of entitlements, vowed to work against overspending in statements after Boehner's announcement. Neither mentioned federal revenues.
"This commission will not be able to solve the crisis in a matter of months, but we can work together to tackle these challenges in order to bring back jobs, hope, and opportunity for the America people," Hensarling said.
Boehner and McConnell made their announcements one day after Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry ReidRepublican failure Senate about to enter 'nuclear option' death spiral Top GOP senator: 'Tragic mistake' if Democrats try to block Gorsuch MORE (D-Nev.) appointed three liberal senators with close ties to leadership to the supercommittee.
Reid appointed Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max BaucusMax BaucusGOP hasn’t reached out to centrist Dem senators Five reasons why Tillerson is likely to get through Business groups express support for Branstad nomination MORE (D-Mont.), Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John KerryJohn KerryCongress, Trump need a united front to face down Iran One year ago today we declared ISIS atrocities as genocide Trump’s realism toward Iran is stabilizing force for Middle East MORE (D-Mass.) and Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee Chairwoman Patty MurrayPatty MurrayInspector general reviewing HHS decision to halt ObamaCare ads Dems mock House GOP over lack of women in healthcare meeting The Hill’s Whip List: 30 Dems are against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee MORE (D-Wash.).
In making his picks, Reid snubbed members of the Gang of Six who had been willing to cut entitlements in exchange for revenue increases.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is the only congressional leader who has yet to announce her appointments to the 12-member committee.
The supercommittee must be appointed by Aug. 16 and vote on a deficit-reduction plan by Nov. 23. That plan will receive an up-or-down vote by Christmas in both chambers if the committee succeeds in coming to a consensus.
In the wake of last week’s downgrade of the U.S. credit rating by Standard & Poor’s, pressure has increased for the group to go beyond its mandate to find $1.5 trillion in cuts. S&P says the U.S. needs to come up with $4 trillion in deficit cuts in order to return the nation to a AAA credit rating.
Camp thanked Boehner for choosing him, and said the committee must do its utmost to cut spending, especially in light of recent market turbulence.
The evenly divided supercommittee can approve a plan by a simple majority of its 12 members. That means only one Republican or Democrat has to defect from their party's opening position for its plan to come to a floor vote.
Reid had promised to appoint open-minded members, while the House GOP vowed not to appoint anyone open to tax increases.
—Last updated at 12:45 p.m.