The bipartisan Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction will have an organizational meeting Thursday, wasting no time to get its work under way.
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), who co-chair the panel, issued a joint statement Friday announcing that the panel will gather Thursday for an organizational meeting. That date is more than a week ahead of the Sept. 16 date by which the panel was required under law to hold its first meeting. The meeting will also take place on the day President Barack Obama will address a joint session of Congress on his proposals to stimulate the economy.
The following Tuesday, Sept. 13, the panel will meet for its first official hearing, titled “The History and Drivers of Our Nation’s Debt and Its Threats.” That session will feature testimony from Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the Congressional Budget Office.
Hensarling and Murray announced earlier this week that Mark Prater, the deputy staff director and chief tax counsel for the minority Republicans on the Senate Finance Committee, will serve as staff director of the joint committee. The two are also expected to select a deputy staff director, but that name has not yet surfaced.
Republican members of the 12-member panel met in Hensarling’s office earlier this week, while Democratic members have continued to hold conference calls to gear up for the upcoming work stretch. Other GOP members include Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Reps. Dave Camp (Mich.) and Fred Upton (Mich.). Democrats on the committee include Murray, Sens. Max Baucus (Mont.) and John Kerry (Mass.), and Reps. Chris Van Hollen (Md.), James Clyburn (S.C.) and Xavier Becerra (Calif.).