Meet The GOP's Not-So-Super Committee: 6 Members Of Congress Shaping Your Economic Future
Stay up to date with the latest headlines via email.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) announced today their picks for the fiscal super committee created by the debt ceiling deal, naming Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA), Rob Portman (OH), and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (TX), Dave Camp (MI), and Fred Upton (MI) to the body. The committee is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November, and one of the key issues will be whether revenue increases are included. Basic economics and the American people call for increasing revenues, with a new CNN poll showing 63 percent of Americans want the committee to raise taxes on the wealthy, but several of the GOP picks are hard-right conservatives who likely oppose such a “balanced approach.” Other critical issue will be entitlement programs like Social Security and Medicare, and whether the committee makes cuts to military spending.
Here’s what you need to know about each of the GOP super committee members:
REP. JEB HENSARLING (TX): Super committee co-chairman Hensarling only has a tenuous grasp on economic facts, repeatedly making false claims about the deficit and debt and “ falsely characteriz[ing] the debt limit fight as a consequence of spending policies enacted by President Obama and past Democratic congresses.” He has called Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid “ cruel Ponzi schemes,” and believes that recessions are just “ a part of freedom.” Hensarling has said corporate tax dodging is a good reason to cut the corporate tax rate. He also consistently carries water for Wall Street’s biggest banks, saying that bank profits should trump consumer protection.
SEN. JON KYL (AZ): Kyl is the number two Republican in the Senate and takes a hard line on taxes. He walked away from debt ceiling negotiations because Democrats wanted to raised taxes on those who make more than $500,000 a year, but he insisted there should not be a dime of increased revenues. He has also strongly defended tax subsidies for oil companies, and opposed ending an accounting gimmick that deprives the Treasury of up to $72 billion over the next five years in corporate taxes. He is also a staunch defender of military spending and is not afraid to twist arms to get it. For example, he held up the START treaty and extension of the Bush tax cuts late last year to extract more money for nuclear weapons. Like many Republicans, he has voted to privatize Social Security and supported the House Republican budget, which would effectively end Medicare. To his credit, however, he said he did not support tying an increase in the debt ceiling to a Balanced Budget Amendment.
SEN. PAT TOOMEY (PA): Toomey firmly believes in the GOP fantasy that tax cuts don’t actually cost anything, telling Fox News that “ it’s not clear” that extending the Bush tax cuts and cutting corporate taxes would decrease revenues. He is firmly in favor of privatizing Social Security because he believes that “personal [Social Security] accounts lead to personal prosperity.” He has said he supports the budget passed by House Republicans (which would effectively eliminate Medicare) and released his own budget proposal that would turn Medicaid into a block grant, severely slash domestic discretionary spending, and likely result in a big tax increase on the middle-class that would fund tax reductions for the rich and corporations. However, Toomey does support cuts to defense spending, saying, “There is waste pretty much everywhere in the government, and that includes the Pentagon. Part of the problem is Congress voting on systems the Pentagon doesn’t even want.”