Some Democratic members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, tasked with identifying $1.5 trillion in spending cuts, have become the subject of criticism, but their appointments were only finalized Thursday.
Sen. Patty Murray of Washington, and Reps. James Clyburn of South Carolina and Xavier Becerra of California are already being targeted for circumstances that could compromise their abilities to negotiate.
Becerra, for example, wasted no time before using his appointment as a fundraising tool for his own campaign.
About two hours after House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi released Becerra’s name as one of her appointees, an invitation went out inviting Wall Street lobbyists to a $1,500 per-ticket event. The invitation highlighted Becerra’s membership on the exclusive committee.
According to The Wall Street Journal, the invitation to the August 31 event, was sent by Jim Hart of the Investment Company Institute. It touted Becerra, calling the congressman “not only vice chairman of the Democratic Caucus, but who also has just been named to the new deficit reduction committee.”
“This will be Mr. Becerra’s first event since being named to the commission and may be one of the first for any of the twelve members of the group,” read the invitation. “This even could give all attendees a glimpse into what will most assuredly be the primary topic of discussion between now and the end of the year.” (RELATED: Liberal group: Super committee members should give up leadership, fundraising posts)
The conservative Americans for Limited Government also began targeting Clyburn for his well-known propensity for earmarks, saying it disqualified the congressman from being appointed to a committee responsible for cutting spending.
“Clyburn has earmarked over $200 million over the past six years, making him the biggest congressional spender in South Carolina,” said the organization’s president, Bill Wilson. “Clyburn’s role on the super committee would be to protect what he spent decades fighting for: pork-barrel spending.”
Then there is Murray, who also happens to be head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, where her sole job is to raise money to win back Republican Senate seats. Some say that role compromises her ability to negotiate in good faith with the Republican members on the committee.
The Seattle Times editorialized Murray “is a partisan Democrat. She heads the Democrat Senatorial Campaign Committee which aims to unseat Republicans. Now her job is to make a deal with them. If the two jobs conflict, Murray has to do one at a time.”
Other committee members include Republican Sens. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, Jon Kyl of Arizona, Rob Portman of Ohio; Democrat Sens. Max Baucus of Montana, John Kerry of Massachusets; Republican Reps. Fred Upton of Michigan, Dave Camp of Michigan, Jeb Hensarling of Texas; and Democrat Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland.