US congressional debt panel composition set

August 12th, 2011 - 11:51 am ICT by IANS  

Washington, Aug 12 (IANS/EFE) Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi announced Thursday her choices to represent House Democrats on the bipartisan congressional committee charged with reducing the US budget deficit by more than $1 trillion over the next 10 years.

She selected Chris Van Hollen of Maryland, who serves on the House Budget Committee; California’s Xavier Becerra, a member of the House Ways and Means Committee; and Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, the assistant minority leader.

With the naming of the three House Democrats, the 12-member panel, dubbed the “Super Congress”, is complete.

The committee is to be co-chaired by Rep. Jeb Hensarling and Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington.

Once Congress returns from its August recess, the committee will face a Nov 23 deadline to produce a detailed proposal for a minimum of $1.2 trillion in budget cuts and/or tax increases over the next decade, on top of the $1 trillion in savings that formed part of last week’s accord to raise the US debt limit.

Assuming that at least seven of the panel’s 12 members can agree on a plan, the House and Senate will hold up-or-down votes on the package, with no amendments allowed.

If the Super Congress fails to reach an accord, the debt-limit pact calls for automatic cuts to the Pentagon and discretionary domestic spending.

Medicare, Social Security and veterans benefits would be shielded from automatic cuts.

–IANS/EFE
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