With Pelosi Picks, Deficit Panel Now Complete

Pelosi says the committee, charged with making $1.5 trillion in cuts by Thanksgiving, should conduct proceedings 'in the open'

Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Boehner in Congress after she stepped down as Speaker in January. (Photo: AP) Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Rep. John Boehner in Congress after she stepped down as Speaker in January. (Photo: AP)

Bringing the number to 12, House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (left) announced Thursday her picks for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. They include Assistant Democratic Leader James Clyburn, D-S.C.; Democratic Caucus Vice Chair Xavier Becerra, D-Calif.; and Budget Committee Ranking Member Chris Van Hollen, D-Md.

Pelosi urged the committee to conduct its proceedings “in the open,” saying that its deliberations must be transparent.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., was the first to announce his appointees on Tuesday, while Speaker of the House John Boehner, R-Ohio, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., followed with their picks on Wednesday.

The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, which was part of the debt ceiling deal reached by President Barack Obama and Republican leaders, is charged with developing legislation that provides $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by Thanksgiving. The bipartisan, bicameral committee is now comprised of 12 members—six from each Chamber and equally divided between Democrats and Republicans.

Reid said in a statement announcing his nominations that the committee has been given “broad leeway” to examine all areas for deficit reduction, and that the committee’s legislation will be given “expedited consideration, with a guaranteed up-or-down vote in the Senate before Christmas.”

Pelosi said in a statement announcing her appointees that the Joint Select Committee “has a golden opportunity to take its discussions to the higher ground of America’s greatness and its values. It must meet the aspirations of the American people for success and keep America number one.”

Pelosi went on to say that the work of the Congress must go beyond the deliberations of the committee.

"Without waiting for the committee to complete its work, we should pass legislation for sustainable job creation," she said in a statement. "Congress should send to the President the long delayed highway and FAA bills, which generate hundreds of thousands of American jobs; and Congress should approve a national Infrastructure Bank to create jobs and improve our competitiveness.”

Using Obama's term, Pelosi said a “grand bargain” must be achieved, which “reduces the deficit by addressing our entire budget, while strengthening Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. Our entire caucus will work closely with these three appointees toward this goal, which is the goal of the American people.”

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