House speaker John Boehner has chosen Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas to be co-chair of the joint select committee on deficit reduction, or the so-called supercommittee. Reps. Dave Camp and Fred Upton, both of Michigan, were also selected by Boehner to represent the House Republicans on the supercommittee. Meanwhile, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell has chosen fellow senators Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, and Rob Portman of Ohio as the GOP Senate representatives.
Hensarling, Camp, and Upton are veteran House members with establishment credibility. Hensarling is a member of the House leadership, Camp is chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Upton is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee.
"The lawmakers I have appointed to serve on this joint committee are proven leaders who have earned the trust and confidence of their colleagues and constituents," Boehner said in a statement. "They understand the gravity of our debt crisis and I appreciate their willingness to serve on this panel."
Rep. Paul Ryan, chairman of the Budget Committee, released a statement this morning praising Boehner's decision, noting that he asked not to be considered for the committee.
McConnell's selections rely less on Senate experience. Kyl is a member of the Republican leadership and will be retiring after next year's election. Toomey and Portman are both freshmen with Washington backgrounds. Portman is a former congressman and was President George W. Bush's director of the Office of Management and Budget. Toomey, the selected member most associated with the Tea Party, is also a former congressman and was once president of the Club for Growth.
"All three of these nominees understand the gravity of our situation and all three will bring the kind of responsibility, creativity, and thoughtfulness that the moment requires," said McConnell in a statement. "The American people know that we cannot dig ourselves out of this situation by nibbling around the edges, and I am confident that each of these nominees can be counted on to propose solutions that put the interests of all Americans ahead of any one political party."