Last week the president signed the Budget Control Act of 2011 that required the naming of a 12-member Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to find $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions over 10 years. Today, the last picks were announced and the membership of the committee, dubbed by many the “super committee,” is now complete.
According to the law, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV), House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) each had three selections.
Speaker Boehner selected Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) to be co-chair and added Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) and Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI). Hensarling is chair of the House Republican Conference, while Upton is chair of the House Mays and Means Committee (House tax writing committee) and Camp chairs the House Energy Committee.
Senate Majority Leader Reid picked Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) as co-hair the committee and added Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT). Murray chairs a Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) subcommittee and the Appropriations Transportation/Housing and Urban Development Subcommittee and is a member of the Defense and Military Construction/Veterans Affairs Subcommittees. Sen. Kerry is chair of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee and a former democratic presidential candidate (2004). Sen. Baucus is the chair of the Senate Finance Committee (Senate tax writing committee).
House Minority Leader selected Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC), Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), and Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA). Rep. Clyburn is the assistant Democratic leader. Rep. Van Hollen is the ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee and Rep. Becerra is a member of the House Ways and Means Committee and the House Budget Committee.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell picked Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ), Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) and Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA). Sen. Kyl serves on the Senate Judiciary and the Senate Finance Committees. Sen. Portman serves on the Senate Budget, Armed Services, Energy and Natural Resources, and Homeland Security Committees. Sen. Toomey is a member of the Senate Budget, Banking, and Commerce Committees.
The Select Committee has until November 23, 2011 to report a legislative proposal to achieve $1.5 trillion in deficit savings. By October 14, 2011 each congressional committee can submit recommendations for deficit reduction to the Select Committee for consideration. The committee will consider a combination of additional discretionary funding cuts and entitlement and tax reforms before preparing the report of its legislative recommendations. That report requires the approval of a majority of committee members.
If the committee fails to produce recommended legislation achieving at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reductions, the bill sets automatic procedures to cut $1.2 trillion more from federal budgets through FY2021. Of this amount, $600 billion would come from security budgets, including defense.
Let’s hope the don’t reach agreement and we can then cut the bloated defense budget.
[…] part of the Act that has Panetta and the military services extremely concerned. The Act set up a Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, dubbed “supercommittee” by many, to come up with another $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction […]
There’s an old business expression –“When you’re up to your ass in alligators it’s difficult to remember the objective is to drain the swamp”. This is an old cliché but it has never had a more appropriate application than it has today in the United States. Unemployment, the national debt, Medicare, Social Security, Universal health care, decaying infrastructure, research on a host of health problems, Support for primary and advanced education, Defense spending, Immigration, the drug problem, three wars, the Arab Spring and a host of other problems, have all developed into a fantastic quantity of “alligators”. We have been beating on some of them for years and all they do is get bigger and we keep getting more “alligators”. As an example, there is an outcry to make big changes in Medicare but, in a recent poll 78% of those interviewed are apposed to any change.
The day we decided not to let people die where they fell and insisted on a humanitarian approach to every human problem the alligators began to grow and become out of control.
This is the swamp, “How do we pay for all the expensive social programs our humane attitude has caused us to develop over the years.” To drain the “swamp” we must realize that the American People must come up with a fair and equable way of paying for all the wonderful programs that our legislators have developed for us and we have come to believe that it is our right, to have them. The people that believe cutting the national debt is the number one priority have failed to come up with a way to reduce the (alligators) entitlements, that we all enjoy, and do not want changed.
The fundamental problem is that Americans want a lot of things that cost a lot of money, and for some reason, believe someone else should pay for it. Our politicians, to assure their being elected or re-elect, keep telling the people they are right by saying, “No new taxes”.
Sooner or later the lawmakers and the American People must come up with a plan to pay for all the wonderful entitlements that are now an interregnal part of our society.
The first step is to totally revamp the tax system now in use in the USA. We must introduce a Value Added Tax. (VAT), and at the same time due away with the Corporate Taxes , the Personal Income tax and the vast array of exemptions and other taxes that have us in the present Tax Trap When we get to the point that the VAT has replaced all other taxes we can begin to control each “alligator” one at a time. As an example, if we had a 10% VAT, that means that 10% of the GDP, 10% of a 17 Trillion-Dollar economy, 1.7 trillion in taxes would be raised annually. If that isn’t enough the VAT would be raised to a number that would handle the problem. Because you would only pay tax when you make a purchase, everyone would have an equal share in paying the bill (10% on a loaf of bread or 10% on a 5 million dollar yacht)
The problem, of draining the swamp (paying for what we have agreed to pay for), will be there and it won’t go away and if we don’t drain the swamp the alligators will eventually eat us up.
Rome, Greece, and the rest of the world’s great empires failed because they failed to recognize, face and solve their problems which eventually destroyed them.
In our case, I believe our major problem is facing the costs of the world we have created. Once we agree to cover and actually pay the costs we can attack the “alligators” one at a time and cut them down to a manageable size, which is cutting the cost to a manageable level or eliminating the “alligator”.
This country can and has done some great jobs of legislating. The Occupational Safety and Health Act of 1970 is a great example. It has taken over 40 years of adjustments but and the law is really working. The responsibility of training and overseeing the work site is working and Government, Labor and Business are making it work.
The Scandinavian Countries have been financially responsible for years and have had a VAT for the same time.
I’m working on my 88th year, so I won’t be here on earth to see the final outcome, but you can bet I’ll be watching from some where.
Please do your best to drain the swamp while you still have time.
Robert R. Gibson
May 22, 2011
To Mr. Gibson, I agree much with what you said, but you lost me at the VAT tax, which has numerous pitfalls as many European countries can attest to. You may wish to consider the FairTax as an alternative that would better achieve your goal of “draining the swamp”.