Congressional leaders are selecting members of the so-called super committee charged with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit savings before the end of the year. Below are statements reacting to the decisions.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell:
"My main criteria for selecting members was to identify serious, constructive senators who are interested in achieving a result that helps to get our nation's fiscal house in order," McConnell said. "That means reforming entitlement programs that are the biggest drivers of our debt, and reforming the tax code in a way that makes us more competitive and leads to more American jobs. The goal is to achieve a result that convinces Americans and the world that we're committed as a nation to prosperity for all our citizens."
Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee:
"As discussions took place in recent days on the Senate Republican side regarding the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, I informed Leader McConnell that I did not wish to be considered for an appointment.
"In my view, the structure of this Committee -- which will have such deep influence over the lives of millions of Americans and small businesses -- should be beyond reproach and without question.
"As Chairman of the National Republican Senatorial Committee - a position in which I work to raise money every day to help win back a Senate Republican majority -- I was concerned with the appearance and questions that might be raised with an appointment to this Joint Select Committee. My fear was that the message it could send to outside interests was that the pathway of influence on the deficit reduction committee runs through the coffers of a campaign committee.
"Given the appointments on the Democratic side, it is regrettable and unfortunate that they do not appear to share those concerns."
On House Republicans' selection of Reps. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, Fred Upton, R-Mich., and Dave Camp, R-Mich.:
House Speaker John Boehner:
"Our debt and deficits are a threat to our economy, and America cannot achieve long-term job growth until we take action to address this crisis. In the weeks ahead, a serious, bipartisan committee of lawmakers will begin the hard but necessary work of making the tough choices needed to rein in mandatory and entitlement spending, which are the drivers of our debt. 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. They understand the gravity of our debt crisis and I appreciate their willingness to serve on this panel.
"The two parties have fundamental differences about government and its proper role in our society. Where we've been able to agree, we have acted, and in a way consistent with the American people's desire for a smaller, less costly, and more accountable government. Still, the differences remain, and so does the urgent work of returning our economy to creating jobs and lifting the crushing burden of debt that threatens our children's future. This joint committee presents an opportunity for both parties to bring to the table their best ideas, debate them on the merits, and ultimately come together to do what's best for our country. With all that's at stake, I expect that the joint select committee will conduct its work in the open and transparent manner the American people deserve."
Rep. Jeb Hensarling:
"Times are tough, and American families have had to make many sacrifices over the last few years. While they didn't cause this debt crisis, they've learned how to make do by tightening their belts and living within their means. It's time Washington did the same, and I'm honored that Speaker Boehner has entrusted me to work with our colleagues to tackle these challenges and help solve our spending-driven debt crisis.
"With the recent stock market fluctuations and historically high unemployment, confidence in our economy is at a low and the American people are understandably frightened about their economic future. Job creation and growth depends squarely on our confidence in the economy. As long as we keep borrowing 42 cents on the dollar and sending the bill to our children and grandchildren, our debt will grow and confidence will continue to shrink.
"The debt crisis is a legitimate threat to our nation's future, and the American people cannot afford to wait any longer. Everyone can agree that we must stop spending money we don't have, and the time to act is now. This commission will not be able to solve the crisis in a matter of months, but we can work together to tackle these challenges in order to bring back jobs, hope, and opportunity for the America people."
House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis.:
"The Speaker has chosen three excellent Republican members to serve on this Joint Committee in Chairmen Hensarling, Upton and Camp. I asked the Speaker not to consider me for the Joint Committee, because only the Budget Committee can write legislation to reform the budget process. As Budget Committee chairman, my plan has long been to work on this critical issue throughout the fall. This past year has shown that the federal budget process is more broken than ever and needs to be reformed. If we are truly going to put the country's fiscal house in order, it will not be enough to temporarily reduce what Washington spends. We must permanently reform the process by which working Americans' hard-earned tax dollars are spent.
"The House Budget Committee plans to complement the Joint Committee's work this fall by holding hearings and marking up legislation to put in place common-sense controls that stop the spending spree in Washington. As things stand, the budget process is stacked in favor of those who want to chase ever-higher spending with ever-higher taxes. In addition to cutting spending by $6.2 trillion in The Path to Prosperity, the Budget Committee will take action to reform our broken budget process in order to bring spending, deficits and debt under control."
Joint statement from Baucus, Murray and Kerry:
"We are grateful and humbled that Leader Reid asked us to join this Committee to help tackle this critical issue for the American people. While some will argue there is peril in serving on this committee, we believe there is far greater peril in leaving these issues unaddressed. It is long overdue to step beyond the partisanship and politics that have overwhelmed these discussions for months. The true danger lies in inaction, so we look forward to working with our colleagues to find solutions for our economy and for our country. We very much want this joint committee to be a serious committee because these are among the most serious challenges we've ever faced in the Senate."
"This is an important moment for our country. Millions of Americans are struggling in this tough economy, working overtime to pay the bills, find a job, and find a way forward for their families, and they want this Committee to force the federal government to make similar sacrifices without the red hot partisanship and brinksmanship of the last months."
"Every member of Congress knows the importance of getting our fiscal house in order. We hear every day about the importance of ensuring our country is strong for generations to come, and we look forward to working with our colleagues on both sides of the aisle and in both chambers to address these issues in a balanced, pragmatic and practical way. This is not going to be easy. Our challenge is to find common ground without damaging anyone's principles. We believe we can get there. This Committee was designed to require bipartisanship, and we are going to work hard with our Republican colleagues to attain it. We know Americans will stand by us if we work together to tackle our debt and deficit and help get our economy back on track."
"This Committee has to tackle the urgent challenge we face today, but it's also about what we want our country to look like 10 years from now, 20 years from now, and for generations to come. Americans are demanding leadership, and we are going to work hard to deliver it."