Super Committee is a Super Bad Idea – Prepare for More Gridlock

David Williams

August 12, 2011

As part of the deal to raise the debt ceiling, members of Congress and the President agreed on initial spending cuts of $1 trillion.  The bill also requires the formation of a super committee that would have to find an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction (if no agreement is made then there would be across-the-board cuts).  Please note that I didn’t say spending cuts with the super committee because a tax increase could be considered as part of deficit reduction.  And, FYI, the Taxpayers Protection Alliance (TPA) is opposed to any tax increase.  First, the super committee is the coward’s way to deficit reduction with 523 members of Congress abdicating their responsibility to 12 members of Congress.  Besides the cowardice of even creating the super committee, there are a number of concerns that TPA has with the super committee:  the constitutionality of the committee, the ability to raise taxes and whether or not there will be any transparency so taxpayers can see what is taking place behind closed doors.

The only good thing about the super committee is that the members of this committee may produce more gridlock than answers which will hopefully mean no tax increases.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) picked Sens. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.), Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio) to represent the republicans.  Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) picked Sens. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and John Kerry (D-Mass.) as his picks for the committee.

On the House side, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio) picked Reps. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas).  House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) named Reps. James Clyburn (D-S.C.), Xavier Becerra (D-Calif.) and Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.).

I am not going to analyze each committee member but I will mention three that I think may have the biggest impact on the committee since they are all committed to not raising taxes.  Sens. Toomey, Portman and Rep. Jeb Hensarling have all consistently been friends of the taxpayer.

Sen. Toomey has always stood tall against earmarks and over spending.  He is also committed to no tax increases.

Sen. Rob Portman was director of the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) from 2006-2007.  During his tenure at OMB he fought against earmarks and according to his own bio, “Rob made his mark by proposing a balanced budget, fighting irresponsible earmarks, and putting in place new transparency measures for all federal spending.”  The only downside to Sen. Portman is that the country hit a high water mark in 2006 with $29 billion in pork-barrel spending under Portman and President Bush.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling was a fiscal conservative before it was “cool” to be a fiscal conservative.  Rep. Hensarling is opposed to earmarks and has always been a champion of the taxpayer.

The appointment of these three members of Congress are important because there will be a lot of pressure to raise taxes and take entitlements off the table and these three have shown that they are opposed to both.  Granted, anything can happen but Sens. Toomey and Portman and Rep. Hensarling should be good watchdogs for taxpayers.  And, if they’re not, well TPA will have a thing or two to say about that.