First Glance at the Super Committee

As per the debt ceiling deal, the Budget Control Act of 2011, a 12-member special joint committee is to be created to produce legislation that will cut the deficit by $1.5 trilliion. The majority and minority leadership of both houses are tasked with selecting three members each to sit on this so-called Super Committte. Sen. McConnell (R-KY), Sen. Reid (D-NV), and Speaker Boehner (R-OH) made their appointments earlier this week, and by making her appointments today, Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) rounds out the Super Committee roster. Here's the complete lineup:

  • Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
  • Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
  • Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
  • Sen. John Kerry (D-MA)
  • Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA)
  • Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
  • Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)
  • Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX)
  • Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
  • Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
  • Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-SC)
  • Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)

Over the next three months, this 12-member committee will wield a significant amount of power over the fate of at least some $1.2 trillion in national resources. It could create a package that drastically cuts Medicare and Social Security, public protections, programs for low-income families, federal government transparency, and the vast array services provided by the federal government (like putting criminals behind bars). If a majority agree on a bill, it will be voted on by the whole Congress using fast track procedures and blocked from amendment. If the Super Committee fails to produce a package or if Congress doesn't approve it, $1.2 trillion in federal spending will be cut (over 10 years).

Whatever the Super Committee does, it's going to have a big impact on pretty much every American. Yet, the 12 members selected to sit on the committee represent just 16 percent of the American population. And a simple demographic breakdown of the composition of the committee indicates there's a quite a bit difference between the Super Committee and the nation as a whole, suggesting that the committee's priorities may differ from the nation's as a whole.

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