Congressional Leaders Select Members of Deficit Reduction Committee

Congressional leadership has chosen the 12 members that will comprise the bipartisan Super Committee -- a group tasked with developing legislation to create at least $1.5 trillion in future deficit reduction by Thanksgiving. The Super Committee is mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011, the deficit reduction and debt ceiling bill that provides an additional $17 billion in funding for the Pell Grant program but also eliminated the in-school interest subsidy for graduate students and direct loan repayment incentives. The group's decisions could  directly impact future student aid program funding levels.

Senate and House majority and minority leaders were give the authority to select the group of six Democrats and six Republicans. The following members of Congress were selected to serve on the committee:

Senate

  • Patty Murray (D-WA) - Co-chair; Senate Democratic Conference Secretary; member of Budget, HELP and Appropriations  Committees
  • Max Baucus (D-MT) – Chair, Finance
  • John Kerry (D-MA)  - Member, Finance Committee
  • Jon Kyl (R-AZ) – Senate Minority Whip; Member, Finance Committee
  • Pat Toomey (R-PA) – Member, Budget Committee
  • Rob Portman (R-OH) - Member, Budget Committee

House

  • Jeb Hensarling (R- TX) - Co-chair; Chairman of the House Republican Conference
  • Dave Camp (R- MI) – Chair, Ways and Means
  • Fred Upton (R-MI) – Chair, Energy and Commerce; former member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
  • James E. Clyburn (D-SC) – Assistant Democratic Leader
  • Xavier Becerra (D-CA) – Member, Ways and Means; former member of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform
  • Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)  - Ranking Member, Budget

The legislation the committee is responsible for developing can include entitlement and tax reform to decrease spending and increase revenues. The Budget Control Act mandates that Congress vote on the committee's bill by Dec.  23. 

If the committee's recommendations achieve at least $1.5 trillion in savings and are enacted by Congress, the debt ceiling will be raised $1.5 trillion. If the committee's bill is enacted and produces between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion, the debt limit will be raised the same amount as the savings the bill creates. 

If the Super Committee cannot reach at least $1.2 trillion in cuts an enforcement mechanism, known as sequestration, will be imposed.  This process would mandate across-the-board spending cuts, with half coming from defense spending and the other half coming from non-defense spending. If this process is enacted, all education programs other than the Pell Grant program, (which is exempt from sequestration along with other low-income programs) would be subject to cuts.