What you need to know about the “Super Congress” that will need to find at least $1.5 trillion in budget reductions.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid of Nevada announced Tuesday his picks for the upcoming “Super Congress.” They are Democratic senators Patty Murray of Washington, Max Baucus of Montana and John Kerry of Massachusetts.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell announced the Senate GOP counterparts will be Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio.
GOP House Speaker John Boehner’s choices: Reps. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, Dave Camp of Michigan and Fred Upton of Michigan.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has until Aug. 16 to name her three picks to the committee that will have six Democrats and six Republicans, equally divided between the House and Senate.
The committee will try to work out $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, after an initial round of more than $900 billion in spending cuts in the debt ceiling agreement. It is required to complete its work by November 23, and Congress then has until December 23 to vote on the proposal, with no amendments permitted.
A simple majority on the panel — seven of 12 members — is needed to approve whatever package it comes up with, meaning that it will require at least one member of either party to push something through by voting with the other side. The committee’s proposal would then need a simple majority in each chamber of Congress to make it to President Obama’s desk.
If the committee fails to reach agreement or Congress fails to pass whatever package it recommends, a trigger mechanism will enact automatic across-the-board cuts in government spending, including for the military.
According to the CNN/ORC International Poll released Wednesday, 63% of respondents say the so-called “super committee” should recommend increased taxes on higher-income Americans and businesses, with 36% disagreeing.
Nearly two-thirds of respondents oppose major changes to Social Security and Medicare.
Nearly nine in 10 don’t want any increase in taxes on middle class and lower income Americans.
The political wrangling of the negotiations, with uncertainty over whether the government might default if no deal was reached, was one reason why Standard & Poor’s downgraded the U.S. credit rating from AAA to AA+ on Friday.
One of the main Republican arguments against tax increases on the wealthy is that they would inhibit job creation. The CNN/ORC poll results showed that only a third of respondents agree with that stance, while 62% say taxes on the wealthy should be high so the government can use the money for programs to help lower-income Americans.