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The contenders, dark horses and long shots to land on debt ‘supercommittee’

The contenders, dark horses and long shots to land on debt ‘supercommittee’

Speculation about who will be selected to serve on the debt “supercommittee” is rampant on Capitol Hill, K Street and Wall Street.

The four congressional leaders of the House and Senate have until Aug. 16 to make their appointments. While it is unclear which members will be tapped, Capitol Hill leaders are widely expected to pick party loyalists.

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Both the left and right are wary of any possible defectors who would give the opposing party an edge in the talks, which will be aimed at reducing the debt by $1.5 trillion.

Each of the four House and Senate leaders will pick three members to serve on the joint committee. The leaders are allowed to appoint themselves to the supercommittee, though that is unlikely to happen.

The supercommittee’s recommendations must be reported out by Nov. 23 and voted up or down in the House and Senate by Dec. 23.

The following is a rundown of the contenders, dark horses and long shots to be appointed to the panel, categorized alphabetically.


The major contenders to be selected by Senate Majority Leader Harry ReidHarry Mason ReidSenate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees GOP has always been aggressive in trying to weaponize the system of judicial nominations Republicans come full circle with Supreme Court battle to the end MORE (D-Nev.):

• Sen. Max BaucusMax Sieben BaucusOvernight Defense: McCain honored in Capitol ceremony | Mattis extends border deployment | Trump to embark on four-country trip after midterms Congress gives McCain the highest honor Judge boots Green Party from Montana ballot in boost to Tester MORE (D-Mont.) – Finance Committee chairman has jurisdiction over entitlement programs and he served on the Simpson-Bowles commission. The Huffington Post, however, reported on Monday that Baucus is unlikely to be tapped.

• Sen. Dick DurbinRichard (Dick) Joseph DurbinDurbin opposes Saudi arms sale over missing journalist Noisy democracy, or rude people behaving like children? Kavanaugh tensions linger after bitter fight MORE (D-Ill.) – Reid deputy is a Gang of Six member who also served on Simpson-Bowles.

• Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-Hawaii) – Appropriations Committee chairman participated in the Biden talks.

• Sen. Charles SchumerCharles (Chuck) Ellis SchumerFive takeaways from the final Tennessee Senate debate Schumer rips Trump 'Medicare for all' op-ed as 'smears and sabotage' GOP senator suspects Schumer of being behind release of Ford letter MORE (D-N.Y.) – Schumer is a Reid ally who would not let Democrats get rolled in the negotiations.


The major contenders to be selected by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellJuan Williams: Trump’s policies on race are more important than his rhetoric It’s Mitch McConnell’s Washington – and we’re just living in it Trump makes new overtures to Democrats MORE (R-Ky.):

• Sen. John BarrassoJohn Anthony BarrassoWhy grizzly bear hunting season isn’t happening Trump poised to sign bipartisan water infrastructure bill Dems to force health care vote weeks before Nov. midterms MORE (R-Wyo.) – Member of leadership team who throws sharp elbows on 2010 healthcare law.

• Sen. Orrin HatchOrrin Grant HatchHatch mocks Warren over DNA test with his own results showing '1/1032 T-Rex' Romney defends Trump’s policies as ‘effective,' disputes he led 'never Trump' movement GOP fractured over filling Supreme Court vacancies in 2020 MORE (R-Utah) – Ranking member of Finance Committee told The Hill, “I can live with [being appointed] or live without it.” Some point out that Hatch, who could face a primary challenge next year, will not be keen on finding common ground with Democrats.

• Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) – McConnell’s deputy participated in the Biden talks and is not seeking reelection.

• Sen. Rob PortmanRobert (Rob) Jones PortmanElection Countdown: O'Rourke brings in massive M haul | Deal on judges lets senators return to the trail | Hurricane puts Florida candidates in the spotlight | Adelson spending big to save GOP in midterms How Kavanaugh got the votes  Collins to support Kavanaugh, securing enough votes for confirmation MORE (R-Ohio) – Portman, a budget director in George W. Bush’s administration, has been mentioned a lot in recent days. The former House Ways and Means Committee member is widely respected on both sides of the aisle.


The major contenders to be selected by Speaker John BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Juan Williams: The GOP can't govern MORE (R-Ohio):

• Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.) – Ways and Means Committee chairman has jurisdiction over entitlement programs and served on Simpson-Bowles.


• Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) – Member of House GOP leadership team who served on Simpson-Bowles.

• Rep. Buck McKeon (R-Calif.) – Armed Services Committee chairman wary of more defense cuts, which would trigger if supercommittee deadlocks.

• Rep. Paul RyanPaul Davis RyanElection Countdown: Cruz, O'Rourke fight at pivotal point | Ryan hitting the trail for vulnerable Republicans | Poll shows Biden leading Dem 2020 field | Arizona Senate debate tonight Paul Ryan to campaign for 25 vulnerable House Republicans GOP super PAC pushes back on report it skipped ad buys for California's Rohrabacher, Walters MORE (R-Wis.) – Budget Committee chairman has said he will serve on panel if asked. Served on Simpson-Bowles. Very likely to be picked.

• A House Republican freshman who voted for the debt-ceiling bill – Huge freshman class could get seat at the table. Names mentioned include Reps. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) and Diane BlackDiane Lynn BlackHow the Trump tax law passed: The final stretch Trump’s endorsements cement power but come with risks The Hill's Morning Report — Trump optimistic about GOP’s midterm prospects as Republicans fret MORE (R-Tenn.).


The major contenders to be selected by Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.):

• Rep. Xavier BecerraXavier BecerraPublic charge rule is a cruel attack on children Federal judge rules against Sessions's effort to hit sanctuary cities Internet providers sue California over net neutrality law MORE (D-Calif.) – Member of Democratic leadership team who served on Simpson-Bowles commission.

• Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) – The third-ranking House Democrat participated in the negotiations led by Vice President Biden.

• Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) – Schakowsky is close to Pelosi and served on Simpson-Bowles commission.

• Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.) – Ranking member of the House Budget Committee.


Dark horses

• Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) – Budget Committee chairman served on Simpson-Bowles commission, but the Gang of Six member probably won’t be tapped.

• Sen. Patty MurrayPatricia (Patty) Lynn MurrayOvernight Health Care: House passes funding bill | Congress gets deal on opioids package | 80K people died in US from flu last winter Wilkie vows no 'inappropriate influence' at VA Dems push back on using federal funds to arm teachers MORE (D-Wash.) – Head of the Democrats’ campaign committee has a decent shot of being appointed.

• Sen. Jack ReedJohn (Jack) Francis ReedFive changes Democrats will seek at Pentagon if they win power The Hill's Morning Report — Historic, high-stakes day for Kavanaugh and Ford Admiral defends record after coming under investigation in 'Fat Leonard' scandal MORE (D-R.I.) – Reed is respected on both sides of the aisle, and unlike others in the Senate, refrains from partisan barbs.

• Sen. Mike JohannsMichael (Mike) Owen JohannsMeet the Democratic sleeper candidate gunning for Senate in Nebraska Farmers, tax incentives can ease the pain of a smaller farm bill Lobbying World MORE (R-Neb.) – Johanns, a supporter of revamping farm subsidies, backs the Gang of Six plan.

• Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioDating app for Trump supporters leaked its users data on launch day: report Overnight Defense: Trump says 'rogue killers' could be behind missing journalist | Sends Pompeo to meet Saudi king | Saudis may claim Khashoggi killed by accident | Ex-VA chief talks White House 'chaos' | Most F-35s cleared for flight Democrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist MORE (R-Fla.) – Rising star in the GOP.

• Sen. Jeff SessionsJefferson (Jeff) Beauregard SessionsFBI investigated whether McCabe leaked info about Flynn and Trump to media Ex-Senate Intel staffer pleads guilty to lying to feds over contacts with journalists House Judiciary chairman threatens to subpoena Rosenstein MORE (R-Ala.) – Ranking member of Budget Committee toes the party line.

• Rep. Eric CantorEric Ivan CantorFormer TV journalist gives GOP rare dose of hope in Florida Dave Brat trailing in reelection bid Fake political signs target Democrat in Virginia MORE (R-Va.) – House majority leader has not said whether he wants to serve on the panel. But after the friction between the Speaker and Cantor this summer, some say the chance of a Cantor appointment is less than 50-50.

• Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) – Member of the House GOP leadership team who sits on Budget and Ways and Means committees.

• Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) – The Washington Post pegs the deputy whip a front-runner.

• Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) – Chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee, which has jurisdiction over Medicare and Medicaid.

• Rep. Robert Andrews (D-N.J.) – Vocal supporter of the 2010 healthcare reform law.

• Rep. Rosa DeLauro (D-Conn.) – Trusted ally of Pelosi.

• Rep. Norm Dicks (D-Wash.) – Ranking member of House Appropriations Committee. Like others in the Democratic Caucus, Dicks has argued for more stimulus funding to create jobs.

• Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Pa.) – Schwartz’s candidacy has picked up steam over the last week. But her support for eliminating a controversial payment advisory board that was included in the healthcare law could hurt her chances.

• Rep. Henry Waxman (D-Calif.) – Ranking member of Energy and Commerce Committee is a strong supporter of protecting Medicare and Medicaid.


Long shots, other names floated

• Sen. Saxby ChamblissClarence (Saxby) Saxby ChamblissA hard look at America after 9/11 Lobbying World Former GOP senator: Let Dems engage on healthcare bill MORE (R-Ga.) – Gang of Six member says he is not interested.

• Sen. Tom CoburnThomas (Tom) Allen CoburnLive coverage: Donnelly, Braun clash in Indiana debate The Hill's Morning Report — How will the Kavanaugh saga impact the midterms? Congress must use bipartisan oversight as the gold standard MORE (R-Okla.) – Gang of Six member is unlikely to be selected.

• Sen. Bob CorkerRobert (Bob) Phillips CorkerDemocrats torch Trump for floating 'rogue killers' to blame for missing journalist Trump to send Pompeo to meet Saudi king Trump defends 0B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia MORE (R-Tenn.) – Has expressed interesting in serving on the committee.

• Sen. Mike CrapoMichael (Mike) Dean CrapoLawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks GOP loads up lame-duck agenda as House control teeters Republicans shift course after outside counsel falters MORE (R-Idaho) – Gang of Six member.

• Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) – Favored by conservatives, but a long shot.

• Sen. John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneThrough a national commitment to youth sports, we can break the obesity cycle Florida politics play into disaster relief debate GOP chairman: FEMA has enough money for Hurricane Michael MORE (R-S.D.) – Selecting Thune or Sens. John CornynJohn CornynTrump defends 0B US arms sale to Saudi Arabia Florida politics play into disaster relief debate O’Rourke faces pivotal point in Texas battle with Cruz MORE (R-Texas) or Lamar AlexanderAndrew (Lamar) Lamar AlexanderOvernight Health Care — Presented by the Coalition for Affordable Prescription Drugs — Senate blocks Dem measure on short-term health plans | Trump signs bill banning drug price 'gag clauses' | DOJ approves Aetna-CVS merger | Juul ramps up lobbying Trump signs bills banning drug pricing 'gag clauses' Senate defeats measure to overturn Trump expansion of non-ObamaCare plans MORE (R-Tenn.) could trigger leadership politics. All three have their eyes on replacing Kyl as whip in 2013.

• Sen. Sherrod BrownSherrod Campbell BrownOn The Money: Deficit hits six-year high of 9 billion | Yellen says Trump attacks threaten Fed | Affordable housing set for spotlight in 2020 race Lawmakers, Wall Street shrug off Trump's escalating Fed attacks The Hill's Morning Report — Presented by PhRMA — Dem victories in `18 will not calm party turbulence MORE (D-Ohio) – Highly unlikely; Brown is facing a tough reelection campaign in 2012.

• Sen. Dianne FeinsteinDianne Emiel FeinsteinAmerican Bar Association dropping Kavanaugh review Juan Williams: Trump, the Great Destroyer Top Judiciary Dems call for unredacted 'zero tolerance' memo MORE (D-Calif.) – Centrist knows how to cut deals.

• Sen. Kirsten GillibrandKirsten Elizabeth GillibrandAffordable housing set for spotlight of next presidential campaign Overnight Defense — Presented by The Embassy of the United Arab Emirates — Senators seek US intel on journalist's disappearance | Army discharged over 500 immigrant recruits in one year | Watchdog knocks admiral over handling of sexual harassment case Pentagon watchdog knocks top admiral for handling of sexual harassment case MORE (D-N.Y.) – Her stock is on the rise, but she’s unlikely to be appointed.

• Sen. Tom HarkinThomas (Tom) Richard HarkinOn Nicaragua, the silence of the left is deafening Dem Senator open to bid from the left in 2020 Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation MORE (D-Iowa) – Chairman of the Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee.

* Sen. Joe ManchinJoseph (Joe) ManchinTrump makes new overtures to Democrats Gillibrand backs Manchin, Bredesen despite their support of Kavanaugh Senate heads home to campaign after deal on Trump nominees MORE (D-W.Va.) – Freshman seeking reelection in 2012 wants on the committee, though he has acknowledged his chances are slim.

• Sen. Mark UdallMark Emery UdallTrump calls Kavanaugh accusations ‘totally political’ Record number of LGBT candidates running for governor Senate GOP rejects Trump’s call to go big on gun legislation MORE (D-Colo.) – Supporter of a balanced-budget amendment.

• Sen. Mark WarnerMark Robert WarnerIs there difference between good and bad online election targeting? Collusion judgment looms for key Senate panel Hillicon Valley: Facebook reveals 30 million users affected by hack | Grassley presses Google to explain data practices | Senators warn Canada against using Chinese telecom firm | FCC responds to net neutrality lawsuits MORE (D-Va.) – Would like to be picked, but knows he probably won’t make the cut.

• Rep. Randy ForbesJames (Randy) Randy ForbesToo much ‘can do,’ not enough candor Trump makes little headway filling out Pentagon jobs Why there's only one choice for Trump's Navy secretary MORE (R-Va.) – Member of the House Armed Services Committee.

• Rep. James Lankford (R-Okla.) – Freshman member who backed BoehnerJohn Andrew BoehnerThe Hill's 12:30 Report — Presented by Citi — House postpones Rosenstein meeting | Trump hits Dems over Medicare for all | Hurricane Michael nears landfall Kavanaugh becomes new flashpoint in midterms defined by anger Juan Williams: The GOP can't govern MORE debt bill amid uproar from the right.

• Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.) – Boehner probably won’t pick the chairman of the Appropriations Committee.

• Rep. Pete Sessions (R-Texas) – Chairman of the National Republican Congressional Committee.

• Rep. Mac Thornberry (R-Texas) – Armed Services Committee member.

• Rep. Jim Cooper (D-Tenn.) – Supported GOP’s “cut, cap and balance” bill.

• Rep. Jim Himes (D-Conn.) – Backed Gang of Six plan.

• Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) – The House minority whip, a centrist, is viewed as an unlikely choice.

• Rep. Sandy Levin (D-Mich.) – Ranking member on the Ways and Means Committee.

• Rep. George Miller (D-Calif.) – Pelosi confidant who voted against final debt deal.

• Rep. Peter WelchPeter Francis WelchElectric carmakers turn to Congress as tax credits dry up One Vermont Republican wins statewide nomination in six races Live results: Wisconsin, Minnesota, Vermont, Connecticut hold primaries MORE (D-Vt.) – Welch has been a leading voice for the House Democratic Caucus this year.


Alexander Bolton, Bernie Becker, Erik Wasson, Cristina Marcos and Jake Interrante contributed to this report.


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