WASHINGTON (9/8/11)—The Congressional Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction conducted its organizational meeting Thursday as planned and approved a rules package that will guide its actions in the coming months. The 12 panel members, including co-chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), made opening statements that, in part, vowed to get the job done in the timeframe mandated by Congress. As Hensarling said of the panel’s daunting task of identifying areas or cost savings and revenue raising that will start to attack the country’s debt level, “I will not sit idly by and watch the American dream disappear for my 9-year-old daughter and my 7-year-old son," he said. "And I believe that is a sentiment shared by all of my colleagues." Co-chair Murray reminded her colleagues, who are split on the issue oof whether tax increases are on the table, that all member of the super committee must remain open to one all views and must be prepared to compromise. Credit Union National Association Senior Legislative Representative John Hildreth said after attending the committee’s initial meeting, "The panel members used the session primarily to pass a package of rules to govern the proceedings of the select committee, as well as to make opening statements to indicate their hopes for the panel and their shared desired outcome that the committee will produce a bill on time that will prevent the automatic sequestration requirements mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011." The other members of the committee are:
* Democratic House members Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), and James Clyburn (D-S.C.); * Republican House members Dave Camp (Mich.) and Fred Upton (Mich.); * Democratic Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.) and John Kerry (Mass.); and * Republican Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Rob Portman (Ohio).
Congressional committees must make their deficit-cutting recommendations to the committee by Oct. 14, and the deficit reduction committee must vote on its final reduction plan by Nov. 23. The committee's final report on deficit reduction, and related legislation, must be provided by Dec. 2, and that legislation must be voted on by Dec. 23.