Meet the Super Committee

By Chris Good

The names are all out there: These 12 members of Congress, six Democrats and six Republicans, are now in charge of saving America from fiscal ruin.

Created under the recently passed debt-limit deal, this so-called "super committee" will look for at least $1.5 trillion in deficit-reduction measures over 10 years. They'll have until November 23 to draft a proposal, which will see an up-or down vote in Congress within a month after that.

If the committee deadlocks -- if the Republicans and Democrats split on party lines, and no proposal is ever actually proposed -- then $1.2 trillion in automatic, across-the-board cuts will be triggered. It's a solution no one will really like, but the tough politics of spending cuts and possible tax increases could make that outcome more likely than not.

Following the partisan majorities in Congress, the committee will be co-chaired by the top Senate Democrat, Patty Murray (Wash.), and the top House Republican, Jeb Hensarling (Texas).

Here's what you should know about each of the 12:

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2011/08/meet-the-super-committee/243495/