Washington, D.C. – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced today that he will appoint Senate Democratic Conference Secretary Patty Murray, Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry to the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSC). Senator Reid has appointed Senator Murray as the co-chair of the JSC. Speaker Boehner will appoint the other co-chair.
The JSC was originally conceived by Senator Reid during the negotiations that led to passage of the Budget Control Act of 2011. The Act created the JSC to devise a long-term approach to reducing our nation’s deficit. The bipartisan, bicameral committee will be comprised of 12 members, 6 from each Chamber, equally divided between Democrats and Republicans. The JSC is charged with developing legislation to achieve at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by Thanksgiving. The committee has been given broad leeway to examine all areas for deficit reduction, and its legislation will be given expedited consideration, with a guaranteed up-or-down vote in the Senate before Christmas.
Senator Reid issued the following statement regarding the appointments:
“The Joint Select Committee has been charged with forging the balanced, bipartisan approach to deficit reduction that the American people, the markets and rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s are demanding. To achieve that goal, I have appointed three senators who each posses an expertise in budget matters, a commitment to a balanced approach and a track record of forging bipartisan consensus.
“I have great faith in Senator Murray as the co-chair of the committee. Her years of experience on the Senate Budget and Appropriations committees have given her a depth of knowledge on budget issues, and demonstrated her ability to work across party lines. Senators Baucus and Kerry are two of the Senate’s most respected and experienced legislators. Their legislative accomplishments are matched only by their records of forging strong bonds with their Republican colleagues.
“As the events of the past week have made clear, the world is watching the work of this committee. I am confident that Senators Murray, Baucus and Kerry will bring the thoughtfulness, bipartisanship, and commitment to a balanced approach that will produce the best outcome for the American people.”