By Keegan Gibson, John McDonald and Geoff Middleberg
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell has named Toomey to the 12-member debt “super committee.” He’ll serve along with Sen. John Kyl of Arizona, the Senate’s number two ranking Republican, and Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio.
Toomey Communications Director Nachama Soloveichik confirmed Toomey’s selection, and said that the Senator will host a media conference call at 1:15 this afternoon.
The so-called “super committee” was the crux of last week’s debt ceiling compromise, and is charged with finding over a trillion dollars in spending cuts. The committee will offer a comprehensive package of spending cuts and possibly revenue increases for an up-or-down vote in each chamber of Congress.
Toomey was one of twenty-six senators to vote against the deal, saying it would do “nothing to deal with the path of our government’s unsustainable deficit spending.”
Toomey raised his profile during the several weeks of debt ceiling negotiations. In the heat of the protracted negotiations, he introduced legislation which would have forced the U.S. Treasury to prioritize debt interest payments, Social Security expenditures, and military salaries in the event that the federal government’s debt ceiling was reached.
After the committee was announced, speculation abounded that the Senator may earn one of its 12 seats. Since his election last fall, Toomey has emerged as a leader for fiscal conservatives in the U.S. Senate.
By choosing Toomey, McConnell acknowledged the influence of the Senate’s Tea Party wing. Toomey is seen as a bridge between the more conservative Senate GOP, lead by Sen. Jim DeMint of South Carolina, and the moderate Senators that comprise the leadership in the chamber.
Since taking office in January, Toomey has staked out ground as a no-nonsense fiscal authority among the Senate’s GOP contingent. In January, the former Congressman and Club for Growth president earned the ire of Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner by introducing legislation which would have instructed the federal government to prioritize the country’s debt payments once the debt ceiling had been reached.
In May, the freshman U.S. Senator held a high-profile Capitol Hill press conference in which he unveiled a budget proposal he insisted would balance the federal budget within ten years without raising taxes. Though the plan failed, it garnered more votes in the Democratic-controlled Senate than any other budget proposal.