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What Should I Know about the Super Committee?

On August 2, 2011, Congress created the Budget Control Act of 2011. Under this act, a bipartisan group of senators and representatives, commonly referred to as the “Super Committee,” was delegated the task of addressing our nation’s budget deficit. Succinctly stated, the Super Committee must devise a specific plan by November 23 to eliminate a $1.5 trillion deficit over the next ten years. At least seven of the twelve legislators must agree on which recommendations to include in the proposal. Once they have crafted this proposal, Congress must approve it by December 23 by an “up or down” vote. If December 24 arrives and Congress has yet to approve the Super Committee’s proposal, then they will have triggered a $1.2 trillion package of automatic spending cuts, roughly equally divided between defense and non-defense spending (which neither party desires).

The group is labeled “super” because of its authority; the product they create will not face the same challenges that normal proposals undergo to reach “law” status. In other words, the fruit of the Super Committee’s work will be voted on (yes or no) by each member of the House and each member of the Senate. Moreover, only the twelve members are able to modify the document. This is significant because of the potential for something concrete to finally come about after this long period of gridlock. Once the committee’s work is done on the spending plan, the committee will be dissolved.

We at NETWORK want the Super Committee to protect the dignity of all Americans, particularly keeping in mind those who are living at the economic margins of society. The Super Committee is under much pressure from the private sector. They should be wary of the invitations to fundraisers hosted by these corporations, which attempt to look out for their welfare alone. We are focused on voicing concerns that implementation funds for entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid are not cut, as well as funding for other social safety net programs. If the Super Committee cuts the administration of these programs, then the number of people who can receive these entitlement programs will decrease significantly. This translates into alarming consequences for many American individuals and families.

We implore the Super Committee to seriously consider WHO truly needs protection in the strategy and establishment of this deficit reduction. Instead of catering to the special interests of large corporations and super-wealthy, it is imperative that the Super Committee ensure the preservation of essential services for the most vulnerable citizens in our country. By doing so, they will be acting in accordance with the Common Good, and we must remember that promoting the common good is not compatible with tolerating hunger, homelessness and unemployment. To be clear, these issues WILL be exacerbated if funds to human needs programs are cut. 

Super Committee Members

Senator Patty Murray, Senate co-chair

Contact Senator Murray on Facebook, Twitter or her website.

State: Washington

Party: Democrat

First Elected: 1992, serving her fourth term

Religion: Catholic

Re-election: 2016

Committees: Appropriations, Budget, Health, Education and Labor Pensions, Joint Committee on Printing, Rules and Administration, and Veterans’ Affairs.

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Yes

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - Yes

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act - Yes

Consideration of S. 940 The Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act - Yes

Representative Jeb Hensarling, House co-chair

Contact Representative Hensarling on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Texas, District 5

Party: Republican

First Elected: 2002, serving his fifth term

Religion: Episcopal

Re-election: 2012

Committees: Financial Services Chairman

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - No

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - No

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act -

Senator Max Baucus

Contact Senator Baucus on Facebook or his website.

State: Montana

Party: Democrat

First Elected: 1978, serving his sixth term

Re-election: 2014

Religion: United Church of Christ

Committees: Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry, Environment and Public Works, Finance, and Joint Committee on Taxation.

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Yes

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act -

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act - Yes

Consideration of S. 940 The Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act – Yes

Senator John Kerry

Contact Senator Kerry on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Massachusetts

Party: Democrat

First Elected: 1984, serving his fifth term

Re-election: 2014

Religion: Catholic

Committees: Commerce, Science and Transportation, Finance, Committee on Foreign Relations, and Small Business and Entrepreneurship.

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Yes

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - Yes

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act - Yes

Consideration of S. 940 The Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act - Yes

Senator Jon Kyl

Contact Senator Kyl on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Arizona

Party: Republican

First Elected: 1994, Serving his third term

Re-election: 2012

Religion: Presbyterian

Committees: Finance Committee and Judiciary Committee.

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - No

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - No

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act - Yes

Consideration of S. 940 The Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act – No

Senator Rob Portman

Contact Senator Portman on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Ohio

Party: Republican

First Elected: 2010, serving his first term

Re-election: 2016

Religion: Methodist

Committees: Armed Services, Budget, Energy and Natural Resources, and Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs.

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

Consideration of S. 940 The Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act – No

Senator Pat Toomey

Contact Senator Toomey on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Pennsylvania

Party: Republican

First Elected: 2010, serving his first term

Religion: Roman Catholic

Re-election: 2016

Committees: Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs, Commerce, Science and Transportation.

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

Consideration of S. 940 The Close Big Oil Tax Loopholes Act – No

Representative Xavier Becerra

Contact Representative Becerra on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: California, 31st Congressional District

Party: Democrat

First Elected: 2009, serving his first term

Religion: Roman Catholic

Re-election: 2011

Committees: Ways and Means

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Yes

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - Yes

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act - No

Representative Dave Camp

Contact Representative Camp on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Michigan, 4th Congressional District

Party:  Republican

First Elected: 1991, serving his ninth term

Religion: Roman Catholic

Re-election: 2012

Committees: Ways and Means

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - No

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - No

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act of 2010 - Absent

Representative James Clyburn

Contact Representative Clyburn on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: South Carolina

Party: Democratic, 6th Congressional District

First Elected: 1993

Religion: African Methodist Episcopal, serving his eighth term

Re-election: 2012

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Yes

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - Yes

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act – No

Representative Fred Upton

Contact Representative Upton on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Michigan, 6th congressional district

Party: Republican

First Elected: 1986, serving his 13th term

Religion: Protestant

Re-election: 2012

Committees: Energy and Commerce

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - No

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - No

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act - No

Representative Chris Van Hollen

Contact Representative Hollen on Facebook, Twitter or his website.

State: Maryland, 8th Congressional District

Party: Democrat

First Elected: 2002, serving his fifth term

Religion: Episcopal

Re-election: 2012

Committees: Budget

Past Positions on Taxes and Spending (According to Vote History)

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act - Yes

Education Jobs and Medicaid Assistance Act - Yes

The Middle Class Tax Relief Act - No