Breaking: Boehner, McConnell Announce Picks for Catfood Commission II

Politico has the names:

Speaker John Boehner has appointed Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) as the House GOP members of the panel.

Hensarling will be co-chairman of the committee. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell also announced Wednesday the Senate Republican members: Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio.

Politico says that Kyl, who is not running for reelection,

will likely be a conduit to McConnell to keep him apprised of the ongoing negotiations – as he did when he served as the lead Senate GOP negotiator during the unsuccessful budget talks led by Vice President Joe Biden this summer. Portman, a former White House budget director under George W. Bush and a freshman GOP senator, has been given increased responsibilities from the leadership, including earlier this year when he helped draft a GOP jobs initiative.

From CBS News Political Hotsheet:

In a statement, McConnell said the three senators he’s chosen understand the “gravity” of the current economic climate and will bring to the table “the kind of responsibility, creativity, and thoughtfulness that the moment requires.”

“The American people know that we cannot dig ourselves out of this situation by nibbling around the edges, and I am confident that each of these nominees can be counted on to propose solutions that put the interests of all Americans ahead of any one political party,” McConnell said.

Boehner said in a statement he appointed “proven leaders who have earned the trust and confidence of their colleagues and constituents.”

How very reassuring. The good news is that Boehner didn’t appoint either Paul Ryan or Eric Cantor–probably because he wants them to be reelected in 2012.

As we heard yesterday, Harry Reid has chosen Patty Murray (Washington), John Kerry (Massachusetts), and Max Baucus (Montana), with Murray to serve as co-chair. Nancy Pelosi has not yet announced her choices for the “super committee” AKA Catfood Commission II.

At FDL, David Dayen has some great comments on Harry Reid’s choices.

Patty Murray and John Kerry have defense industry ties, and as the head of the Finance Committee Baucus is no stranger to health care or tax lobbyists. But I don’t think you could find a Senator in the Democratic caucus without those ties. Then there’s this allusion to a stirring speech by John Kerry, which should immediately set off a BS detector:

A Democratic source told The Huffington Post that Kerry “made it into the discussion” of who should serve on the committee by delivering “some powerful speeches” to the rest of the caucus. The speeches, the source added, were in defense of Democratic Party priorities, focusing on the need to protect entitlement programs and Kerry’s desire to strongly push back against (what the source referred to as) “the right-wing agenda.”

That gives me a great idea to stall out the committee: have John Kerry give the opening speech.

Meanwhile, if Baucus is not liked for being parochial and sure to vote against any program that emerged, and given his performance during the health care debate, when he went into a room with a small bipartisan group and wasted four months not finding a solution, I’d say it was a great choice!

Please post any relevant background information you have on these Senators and Representatives in the comments.

23 Comments on “Breaking: Boehner, McConnell Announce Picks for Catfood Commission II”

  1. bostonboomer says:

    Jonathan Capehart: Patty Murray Belongs on the Super Committee.

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), a former boxer, threw the first punch with his picks for the debt-deficit Super Committee. Senators Max Baucus (Mont.), John Kerry (Mass) and Patty Murray Wash.) are all experienced hands knowledgeable in the ways of the Senate and the budget. Of course, Republicans instantly slammed Murray. Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus said, “The Select Committee is no place for someone whose top priority is fundraising and politics.” He kinda has a point — up to a point.

    Murray is the chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee. In that role, her job is to find candidates and raise money to maintain or increase the Democratic majority in the Senate by defeating the Republicans with whom she serves. So, by day, Murray will help hammer out a deal for the $1.2 trillion in spending cuts that must be agreed to by the end of the year. And then by night she’ll don her partisan armor to slay her the GOP? No wonder Priebus is waxing cranky. But Priebus’s point only goes so far.

    Murray, now in her fourth term, is a ranking member on the Budget Committee and she is part of the Senate leadership. It makes sense for her to be there.

  2. dakinikat says:

    I haven’t even remotely heard of Boehner’s picks. I wonder if that was intentional. TWO from Michigan? WOW!

  3. bostonboomer says:

    Right wing “Human Events” isn’t pleased with the Democratic picks so far.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Human Events on the GOP choices:

    Hensarling heads the House Republican Conference Committee, while Camp and Upton chair House Ways and Means and House Energy and Commerce, respectively. Toomey does own a Tea Party Spartan cloak and shield, and used to be president of the Club for Growth. Kyl was an increasingly unhappy member of Vice President Joe Biden​’s deficit reduction group, who quit because “the White House and Democrats are insisting on job-killing tax hikes and new spending.” Camp and Hensarling have faded blue ribbons from the previous high-profile deficit reduction commission, which President Obama​ occasionally likes to boast about, but resolutely ignored.

    As for Upton, he attracts ire from conservatives for his role in the death of the incandescent light bulb, but he’s been doing some fine forensic work during his time with the House Energy committee, whose previously sleepy halls have become a torture chamber for Administration appointees.

    • Sima says:

      Ok, pardon me, but ‘As for Upton, he attracts ire from conservatives for his role in the death of the incandescent light bulb…’

      This matters to them? WHY? For godsakes, why???

  5. Allison says:

    ThinkProgress has a defense of Baucus:

    Apparently he voted against the recommendations to cut social services while on the Catfood Commission.

  6. Boo Radly says:

    bb – here’s a quote from Dayen’s post of yesterday – , Murray and Kerry signed a letter supporting the Grand Bargain during the debt ceiling negotiations, and Kerry said on Meet the Press over the weekend that the US must cut, cut, cut to show it’s serious about deficit control.

    None of the three were part of the Gang of Six, the bipartisan Senate group that devised a deficit reduction plan this year. Baucus appeared on the Bowles-Simpson Catfood Commission, but ultimately voted against the recommendations. He also was part of the Biden talks during the debt limit. The Huffington Post had reported that Baucus wouldn’t be part of the committee.

    Murray is the head of the DSCC, the campaign arm for Senate Dems, and next year will likely be consumed with protecting conservative Democrats in tight elections in states like Montana, Missouri, Nebraska and West Virginia.

    Kerry and Murray signed a letter earlier this year essentially calling for a grand bargain based on the Bowles-Simpson recommendations. Kerry was on Meet the Press this week saying this:

    Senator Kerry also endorsed that goal. The United States must show the markets that it is “deadly serious about dealing with its long-term structural debt,” he said, and the way to do that is by “putting a plan on the table, $4 trillion plus, if necessary.”

    None of the three are up for re-election in 2012, perhaps the most important characteristic qualifying them for the position.

    Link –

    h/t to Jawbone at another site. Which, by the way, reader’s surmised – it’s a done deal.

    Hope this is relevant

    Our venerated honorable congress has no choice – it’s their loss of pig trough(salaries, inside trading, benes, bestest career in the US) or serving the American public – the 98% with no representation. It won’t even get them to yawn if we write/call/visit them. They gots to protect their asss-sets and ‘deep’ commitment to “public service”.

    Now, if some motivated citizens take to the streets – take a stand with the backing of an economist and some former real Dems, It’ll be cooler in Oct.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Thanks. We had to know they’d only appoint people who either aren’t up for election or live in very safe districts/states.

      The Simpson-Bowles commission didn’t actually recommend SS cuts, just increasing the age. I think that would be very wrong. I also think the super committee is unconstitutional, but no one cares what I think. It takes away our right to representation by someone from our own state/district.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Also Max Baucus voted against the report of Simpson-Bowles because he didn’t want changes to SS and Medicare.

  7. Minkoff Minx says:

    Hey, I just saw all this…Damn. I don’t know what to think of the Stupor Committee.

    McConnell, Boehner Make Deficit Committee Appointments

    This here bothers the hell out of me:

    All six Republicans have signed a pledge to Grover Norquist’s Americans for Tax Reform that they will not vote to raise taxes.

  8. northwestrain says:

    Stupor Committee — that’s a keeper.

  9. northwestrain says:

    Matt Miller — Washington Post writes:

    Does the president sense what the moment requires? It helps to think like Mitch McConnell. Once you do, you’ll see there’s no way Republicans will partner with Obama to do anything that matters, because they have the president right where they want him, with “full ownership” of a lousy economy. That’s why the super-committee is doomed to fail, because McConnell’s only goals will be a bipartisan Medicare reform that takes the issue off the table, plus a deal with no tax hikes.

    This means that, for all the attention it will consume, there is no way the super-committee can deliver. (And the awful cuts that are supposed to ensue if it fails will never happen; they’ll be “triggered” yet scrapped or put off after the election.)

  10. Sima says:

    I posted this on another thread but want to repost here. About Murray, this is very worrying:

    ‘Murray: All is on table in debt supercommittee’

    Murray’s a decent democrat socially. She’s not good when it comes to business, far too business friendly. She’s great on women’s issues, was a staunch Hillary supporter (to the end, I believe), and so on. But she consistently favors business, free trade and crap like that. I’m pretty sure she’d be willing to give up our government savings (i.e. social security) and health, or at least part of it.

    When she first ran, she ran as the gonna be senator in tennis shoes, a mom just like all of us, understood all of us. And she was only going to stay 2 terms. I’d say she was corrupted into a DC democrat in about 4 years, maybe less…

    She’s done good work for WA state, and I have voted for her. But I would vote for another more liberal Dem against her in an instant, if one were to ever run. And she’s better than Cantwell (other Senator from WA), not saying tons there though.