The powerful deficit panel will have a senior Democratic aide as its deputy staff director after committee leaders named a Republican aide to the top staff post last week.
The co-chairmen of the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), announced Tuesday that Sarah Kuehl, a senior staffer for Senate Democrats on the Budget Committee, will be deputy to staff director Mark Prater.
“Sarah has developed a reputation among Members and staff on both sides of the aisle as a trusted and experienced policy and budget expert,” the co-chairmen said in a joint statement.
Kuehl is a senior analyst who handles Medicare, health insurance and Social Security for the budget panel. She has more than a decade of experience on that committee and 13 years in the Senate. She also advised Budget Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) while he served on the president’s fiscal commission last year.
“Sarah has an encyclopedic knowledge of federal entitlement programs and a strong appreciation of how changes to those programs will impact the American people,” Conrad said in a statement. “She is highly regarded by both Democrats and Republicans and knows how to build consensus and find common ground.”
Prater, a tax expert with more than two decades as a senior GOP aide on the Finance Committee, was named as staff director of the committee last week.
The panel’s first meeting is scheduled for Thursday, but is expected to primarily feature opening statements from Members.
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., carries a musket on stage as he speaks during the American Conservative Union's Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) at National Harbor, Md., on Thursday March 6, 2014.