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Meet the 12 People Who Have to Fix America's Money Troubles

Deficit Supercommittee: 12 People Who Have to Fix America's Money TroublesThere has been a pleasant lull in reporting about the debt ceiling and budget debate, but don't let the quietness fool you. As I write this, 11 men and one woman are crafting a plan to reduce the federal budget deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. They are the dozen members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, created as part of the Budget Control Act of 2011, the deal lawmakers struck in late July to avoid a U.S. debt default.

Frequently called the Deficit Supercommittee, this band of brothers is a strange beast. But before digging into how it works, here's a quick run down of who they are. By design, there are 6 members of the House of Representatives, and another 6 from the Senate, with each delegation evenly split between Democrats and Republicans. They are:

Democrats:
1. Sen. Patty Murray (Wash.), Committee Co-Chair
2. Sen. Max Baucus (Mont.)
3. Sen. John Kerry (Mass.)
4. Rep. Jim Clyburn (S.C.)
5. Rep. Xavier Becerra (Calif.)
6. Rep. Chris Van Hollen, (Md.)

Republicans:
1. Sen. Jon Kyl (Ariz.)
2. Sen. Pat Toomey (Penn.)
3. Sen. Rob Portman (Ohio)
4. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Committee Co-Chair
5. Rep. Dave Camp (Mich.)
6. Rep. Fred Upton (Mich.)

CNN Money has a nice, brief introduction to each member that you can check out here. As for how the committee as a whole operates, it's interesting. The members have until Nov. 23 to make a recommendation. Once their plan has been submitted, both chambers of Congress will vote. In this expedited process, neither filibusters nor amendments will be allowed to ensure that there is a vote by Dec. 23.

If the committee fails to submit a plan, or if Congress fails to enact the recommendations, the government will begin across-the-board spending cuts to the military, Medicare, and hundreds of other programs. Generally speaking, the Republicans want to protect the military programs, while the Democrats are concerned with the social programs. The idea that virtually all programs would be subject to automatic cuts if a deal isn't passed is designed to motivate both parties in Congress to enact the Supercommittee-generated plan.

In addition to cutting spending, the Supercommittee is empowered to recommend tax increases. Part of that involves the question of whether or the Bush tax cuts, which were supposed to expire in 2010 but have been renewed, will expire, as they are set to in 2012, or not. According to The Boston Globe, "Huge sums of money are at stake. Continuing the tax cuts for middle-income people could cost $2.8 trillion over 10 years. Continuing the tax cuts for more affluent people -- individuals with annual incomes more than $200,000 and couples earning more than $250,000 -- could cost $800 billion."

In this viciously partisan period, both sides seem to agree on one thing: a shared dislike of the Supercommittee. Rep. Michael C. Burgess (R-Texas) told The New York Times, "I hate it, I hate it, I hate it with a passion. We're giving away our authority. In this new 12-member committee, a seven-person vote can change the world." On the other side of the aisle, Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.), complained, "The joint committee usurps the legislative function. I don't think it's prudent or smart."

Hurt egos aside, legislators may have a point. Any one of the questions facing the Supercommittee can take years to really understand, so demanding they tackle so many complicated issues simultaneously is concerning. But it's what we've got. So those of you fortunate enough to have a committee member from your state might want to give them a call, send them an email or mail them a letter. Take the opportunity to practice democracy by telling them what you want while you still can, because come Nov. 23, that ship is sailing, with or without your feedback.

Loren Berlin is a reporter with the AOL Huffington Post Media Group. She can be reached at loren.berlin@teamaol.com, on Twitter at @LorenBerlin, and on Facebook.

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ruthsgardens

These people are to make spending cuts.Even if successful,it will only offset the raising of the debt cieling.This only delays the problem until after the election.The cuts necessary for this country will not be deemed necessary to this panel.Since 1918, our government has grown itself 3,865%.To cut the government properly will cost many americans their jobs.The only free money our government says it can cut is our taxpayer entitlements.SS,Medicare,Medicaid,VA benefits and Welfare.The government will not cut itself.Instead they are feeding off of the taxpayers.They then spend every penny and sell it as debt.Only to repeat the cycle.Then they shoot theirselves in the foot and americans in the head.They cut taxes.And sell it as debt..The Bush rebate of 400 bucks was used to pay bills.It stimulated nothing.Obama's 13 bucks a week stimulated nothing.Without these taxes our government just sells it as debt.And then the trade agreements.America reduced and eliminated tariffs and taxes to other countries.The other countries love it.But that is less money for our government and it gets sold as debt.Both parties in congress are getting stupid.They are making the world happy by cutting our throats.With the tax loopholes and the trade agreements, our own corporations and other countries are exploiting them,bankrupting our government and taxpayers and selling it as debt. The only people who can make it stop are congress.And only americans can make congress do it.

August 30 2011 at 9:27 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steven

Hey! wow! If twelve people can fix America why do we need a federal government lets just appoint them to run the federal department of the U.S. Think of all the money we could save not having to support all them congressmen and Congresswomen Not to mention the overhead from all those high cost buildngs. Think about it, look at all that Jesus accomplished wth just Twelve. Shoot while we are in the mood to fix things, let's do away with voting too. I mean we do have the electoral college and they are smarter than us domb ole hicks anyway, Besides everyone knows what people want, No Taxes, Fees or costs. we want good schools, roads and highways, The safest highways, airplanes and cars. We also want the elderly taken care of, our children raised with morals and the poor and the sick out of sight and mind. We want a solid infrastructure for our communities including the best well trained police, fire and medical. So Now that we are on the right path I can rest easier. I think I will go have a chockolate banana fosters vanila dream capachino with whip cream. Oh and just so you don't spoil it I also don't want to be disturbed with jury duty or a delegate or.....

August 30 2011 at 7:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chris & Craig

Oh wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Sen I'll flip on anything Kerry. He wouldn't know the truth if it bit him in the Ass!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The rest are just yes "bitches" for thier parties. This is just anopther way for Odoofus to put something off. BTW how you going to blame Bush for this?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

August 30 2011 at 7:35 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
rev2220

Once again this is just a big joke & a waste of valuable tax dollars. These people mentioned above were all in Congress when this mess started if I'm not mistaken so therefore they helped contribute to it. LOL...they is like letting the fox guard the hen house. What a crock!!! Then they'll spend time & a boat load of money & the powers at be won't like the results......they'll just set up another committee/panel to go through the same thing all over again until they get what they want. Remember the Simpson-Bowles Blue Ribbon Panel? That panel was suppose to tell us what needed to be done to get things back in order. WE all know how that turned out. This too will end up in the bureaucratic graveyard if they don't come up with what the President & members of Congress want. Mark it down.

Then there are the poor people that believe only ONE party caused the problem. If you believe that I bet you believe in Santa Claus & the Easter Bunny. The Dems couldn't have screwed up the country this bad without the Reps help. The Reps couldn't screwed up the country this bad without the Dems help. Quit looking at party because there's not a dime's difference between the two. What we need is term limits on Congress. The President has them, why not members of Congress? The career politicians will be gone. That's what got us in the mess we're in. These careers politicians care only of themselves (unless of course they're up for re-election), getting sacks of money from lobbyists & getting re-elected so they can start the process all over again.

Folks, we deserve better than these people.

August 30 2011 at 7:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
BIG KELL

I will say it again....without Barney Frank and Chris Dodd this committee has absolutely "no chance" of failing spectacularly.

August 30 2011 at 7:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
charlie

we need to get rid of all republicans in office. ALL DEMS PLEASE VOTE.

August 30 2011 at 6:52 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to charlie's comment
savemycountry911

Too bad, charlie, Dems are out. Welfare bums are tired of Obama, too. It seems he didn't give them enough of our money.

August 30 2011 at 9:33 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
mkblev

Hmmmm, so 12 members of the current Congress are now on the Deficit Supercommittee that is going to find all the solutions to our problems. Right, that'll work!

These 12 people are part of the problem! They got us in this mess in the first place.

WAKE UP, PEOPLE! The only way we are ever going to get the cesspool that is Washington cleaned up is to get rid of ALL of them! No incumbent deserves re-election. Pass the word.

August 30 2011 at 6:34 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Big John

This is totally unconstitutional! The whole House and Senate is supposed to vote on issues this important and the majority rules no matter who is in power. This is called democracy.

August 30 2011 at 5:57 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
dabrownman

1.5 trillion dollars in additional spending cuts over the next 10 years will reduce the deficit for 23 trillion to 21 trillion in 10 years a full 8 trillion more than today, These 12 couldn't fix money troubles for anyone anywhere. To borrow a quote from the socialist -"even if they tea drinking terrorists. who had guns to our heads and were holding our children hostage these 12 still couldn't shoot straight enough to get anyone to believe anything they say or do."

August 30 2011 at 5:56 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
LEE Resolution

forming committees, appointing 'Czars', selecting 'super' panels, is Obama's way of solving a problem. He then moves on to other issues.

August 30 2011 at 5:14 PM Report abuse -2 rate up rate down Reply