Charged with trimming the deficit by $1.5 trillion over 10 years, members talk strategy and prepare to begin official meetings before Sept. 16
The six Democratic members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction met by conference call Wednesday to discuss political strategy and administrative plans, aides said.
The Democrats discussed logistics, including meeting schedules and a timeline for their work, said one aide. They also continued talks on their strategy "for working with Republicans to come together around a balanced and bipartisan plan," said the aide.
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The conference call follows a meeting on Tuesday among the six committee Republicans. The 12-member super committee was created as part of a deal to raise the federal debt ceiling. The law requires the panel to meet by Sept. 16 and recommend by Thanksgiving cuts worth $1.5 trillion over 10 years. If its recommendations are not adopted, spending cuts worth $1.2 trillion over 10 years would be automatically imposed. Half of those would target defense spending, while entitlements would be mostly exempted.
On Tuesday, super committee co-chairs Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) announced the hiring of Mark Prater, the Senate Finance Committee's deputy staff director and minority chief tax counsel, as staff director for the new panel.
Aides to committee Democrats said they expect in coming days to announce one or more additional hires, a hearing schedule, the location of a committee office space, and transparency rules for the committee. Lawmakers in both parties have urged the committee to deliberate as openly as possible.