The congressional “super committee” tasked with finding ways to trim $1.5 trillion off the federal government’s deficit is now set. And, there will be a South Carolinian on that panel.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has named her choices for the three House Democrats on the panel, including 6th District Congressman Jim Clyburn.
Clyburn is the third-ranking Democrat in the House and served on the Vice President-Joe Biden-led talks that tried to find cuts during the debt ceiling debate earlier this year. While the panel was unsuccessful at reaching a deal, many of their cuts ended up being included in the final bill that passed last week.
Today, he said that everyone should be ready to compromise. “I don’t have any lines in the sand. I’m 71 years old…I’ve been in public life a long time. I’ve always said that if this distance between me and an opponent on any question are five steps, I don’t mind taking three of them. I do believe in sacrifice,” he told media Thursday afternoon.
Clyburn said as recently as Tuesday that he was not actively seeking the position. “I have not lobbied one moment for it,” he told reporters in a meeting, “I would like for the Leader (Pelosi) to make up her own mind independent of any lobbying.”
During that same meeting, he also said he would like to see the Bush-era tax cuts expire for the top 2 percent of wage earners. He said he would also move to close loopholes by eliminating subsidies for oil companies, among other things. He said he did not think entitlement programs such as Medicare and Medicaid needed to be changed, although he said he was open to means-testing for Social Security.
Conservatives attacked his appointment, accusing Clyburn of earmarking more than $200 million for the 6th District in the past six years. “To suggest this committee is serious about deficit reduction and then appoint Rep. Clyburn is like asking the fox to guard the hen house,” SCGOP Chairman Chad Connelly said in a statement.
Pelosi also named House Democrats Chris Van Hollen (MD) and Xavier Becerra (CA) to the panel. They will join Senate Democrats Patty Murray (WA), John Kerry (MA), and Max Baucus (MT). Republican members include Sens. Jon Kyl (AZ), Pat Toomey (PA), and Rob Portman (OH) and House Reps. Jeb Hensarling (TX), Dave Camp (MI), and Fred Upton (MI).