Harry Reid Picks Baucus, Murray, Kerry For Debt Super Commitee

Harry Reid is the first member of Congressional leadership to announce his picks for the debt deal “super committee” and they are, to say the least, underwhelming:

In the first of what will be a closely watched selection process for a powerful new deficit panel, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced he will appoint Democratic Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.), Max Baucus (Mont.) and John Kerry (Mass.) as his three choices for a super committee charged with finding more than $1 trillion in spending cuts by the end of this year.

Murray will serve as co-chair of the 12-member panel. Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will select her co-chair and two other panelists, as required by the next debt limit agreement signed into law by President Barack Obama last week. Minority Leaders Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell will each select three additional members.

“The Joint Select Committee has been charged with forging the balanced, bipartisan approach to deficit reduction that the American people, the markets and rating agencies like Standard and Poor’s are demanding,” Reid said in a statement. “To achieve that goal, I have appointed three senators who each posses an expertise in budget matters, a commitment to a balanced approach and a track record of forging bipartisan consensus.”

Reid’s three picks are intended to show the Nevada Democrat is serious about forging a bipartisan deal to head off $1.2 trillion in spending cuts required under the debt deal. The super committee was Reid’s contribution to the bipartisan agreement to end the debt limit fight,

This doesn’t strike me as all that impressive, to be honest. Where’s Kent Conrad, for example? Or the other Democratic members of the Gang of Six. Baucus is at least capable of working on a bipartisan basis. Murray and Kerry? Forget about it. This isn’t an auspicious beginning.


FILED UNDER: Congress, Deficit and Debt, Quick Takes, US Politics
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.


  1. DC Loser says:

    I guess the Dems didn’t get the memo they were supposed to give everything up. I’m waiting to see whom the GOP nominates. But they may just muddle through and agree to nothing and just let the automatic cuts happen.

  2. Dave says:

    Conrad’s a lame duck. He doesn’t belong on there.

  3. mattt says:

    What’s inauspicious about the Democrats nominating members who will support Democratic priorities?

    Max Baucus is ranked by National Journal as the 44th most conservative Senator, the third most conservative Democrat. Kerry, for all his reputation as a Massachusetts liberal, is ranked based on actual votes as the 66th most conservative, around the median for a Senate Dem. Murray is only the 77th most conservative, so the trio balances significantly to the right of the median Democrat based on their voting records.

    How, exactly, do you think this should work? The Dems nominate people who will give the GOP what they want?

  4. A voice from another precinct says:

    WTF???????? Couldn’t he have drawn the names out of a hat? Couldn’t they have had a “Rock Paper Scissors” tournament? 7-card Omaha? Something, anything? “This isn’t an auspicious beginning” is an understatement. I shudder to think of what yahoos the others in the quartet will come up with.

  5. A voice from another precinct says:

    @mattt: FWIW, my preferences would have balanced away from the guy who had a member of the gallery arrested for asking why single-payer health care advocates were not included in the hearing testemony list, a notorious back bencher, and a guy who just doesn’t enspire any confidence that he can accomplish anything anymore. Beyond that, appointing people that “balance significantly to the right” is not a formula for getting anything other than spending cuts. If spending cuts are the wave of the future, good luck finding $2 trillion of them.

  6. An Interested Party says:

    I wonder if Doug will be as underwhelmed if the GOP puts Tea Party hardliners on this committee…

  7. Ben Wolf says:

    I’m not aware of a single politician who understands how our economy functions, so it’s not like
    Reid had the option of choosing all-stars.

  8. I like the Baucus choice. I don’t know enough about Murray to have an opinion one way or the other.

    Kerry? That pretty much tells me the goal here isn’t to actually get anything done, but to grandstand for the press.

  9. A voice from another precinct says:

    @Ben Wolf: Well, I have to give you points on the lack of all stars. Just the same these three wouldn’t even be on an all-star ballot.

  10. mattt says:

    @A voice from another precinct: Who’re your picks, Voice?

  11. superdestroyer says:

    Just another sign that the budget will never be cut. All the Democrats are doing is stalling until they regain control of the House and put an end to budget cuts and just raise taxes on the upper middle class in order to transfer wealth to the Democratic power blocks.

    Once gain, Congress sends a signal that anyone interested in starting a new business or being an entrepreneur should be doing it in some other country that has sane leadership.

  12. bandit says:

    Kerry put on to make an ass of himself in public and hide other members from scrutiny.

  13. Jay Tea says:

    Two of the three picks are the head of the Senate Campaign Committee and the 2004 presidential nominee. I don’t think you could get any more mainstream Democrat than those two.


  14. Moosebreath says:

    “I don’t think you could get any more mainstream Democrat than those two.”

    Heavens forfend — the Democrats are choosing mainstream Democrats to negotiate for them.