The Corner

SuperCommittee Takes Shape

We already know that Harry Reid is sending Sens. Patty Murray (D., Wash.), Max Baucus (D., Mont.), and John Kerry (D., Mass.) to the super-committee.

Today we learn the Republican picks in both the House and the Senate. Boehner is sending Reps. Jeb Hensarling (R., Texas), Dave Camp (R., Mich.) and Fred Upton (R., Mich.). Mitch McConnell is sending Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.), Jon Kyl (R., Ariz.), and Rob Portman (R., Ohio).

My two-bit reaction to those picks: The only real tea-party type to make it onto the committee is Toomey. Hensarling and Kyl are solid conservatives but also party leadership and Washington pros who know how the game is played. Kyl has somewhat of a deal-maker reputation and is retiring . . . . Camp and Upton are the House’s chief appropriator Ways and Means (which handles tax policy and entitlements)  and Energy and Commerce chairs, respectively. The biggest wonk among the picks is Rob Portman, a former U.S. Trade Representative and OMB Director. He’s also been discussed as a future presidential candidate, so maybe he has the most to lose as well.

It’s also worth noting that all six Republicans have signed Grover’s pledge.

On the Democratic side: Kerry’s a liberal but also fancies himself an elder-statesman and a compromiser. Baucus is Reid’s budget chair, a mainstream Democrat and a process guy. Murray is a lightweight, who also happens to be the Senate Democrats’ lead fundraiser. She’ll co-chair the committee. Real nice. Also, none of them are up for re-election in 2012.

My takeaway, for what it’s worth: the Republican picks represent more principled conservatism than the Democratic picks represent principled liberalism. But the Republican picks also bring more serious wonkery and policy know-how.

Should be fun to see who Nancy Pelosi calls on.


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