Congress Fills Seats On Bipartisan Debt Committee

Originally published on August 11, 2011 6:44 am
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RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

Many people have lately repeated a cliche: Congress never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity. This fall, Congress gets another opportunity.

STEVE INSKEEP, host:

The debt ceiling deal established a bipartisan committee to find deficit reductions. Political observers are now calculating the odds that that committee can actually reach agreement, after House and Senate leaders named nine of the 12 members.

MONTAGNE: For example, Democrats have said the package must include tax hikes. The Republican members include Pennsylvania's Pat Toomey, who used to head the anti-tax group, Club For Growth.

INSKEEP: The committee does include Republican, Dave Camp, who's made a signature issue of tax reform, reshaping tax rules in ways that could plausibly bring in more money.

MONTAGNE: Other members named so far, include tough political fighters like Republican Jon Kyl, as well as Patty Murray who's coordinating the campaign efforts of her fellow Democratic senators. It also includes perceived centrists like Montana Democrat, Max Baucus, and Michigan Republican, Fred Upton.

INSKEEP: In the end, at least seven of the 12 members would have to agree on a plan to submit to Congress. If they do not, automatic spending cuts kick in. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.