By Erik Wasson - 09/06/11 06:10 PM EDT
The deficit-reduction supercommmittee has chosen a Democrat to serve as its deputy staff director, balancing the Republican who was chosen to lead the staff.
Panel leaders Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) announced that Senate Budget Committee analyst Sarah Kuehl will serve in the post under Mark Prater, the current tax counsel for Senate Finance Committee Republicans.
“As a long-time Senate Budget Committee staff member, Sarah has developed a reputation among members and staff on both sides of the aisle as a trusted and experienced policy and budget expert," Murray and Hensarling said.
Kuehl's portfolio includes work on health entitlements and Social Security, the announcement notes. The GOP is keen on the supercommittee trimming these entitlements, while Democrats say this can only by raising new revenue.
“For more than a dozen years, Sarah Kuehl has been a pragmatic consensus builder in the Senate, helping draft key pieces of health care and budget legislation that are now law. Sarah is well known throughout Congress for being a problem solver — one who can work across partisan lines and one who is deeply committed to the populations served by the entitlement programs on which she works," supercommittee member Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) said.