PA Could Figure Big on Debt “Super Committee”

By Jared Edgerton, Contributing Writer

This week has been tough — yesterday the the DOW dropped 634 points in response to S&P downgrading America’s credit rating from AAA to AA+. S&P said their decision was partially due to political gridlock and called for reforms to the tax code and entitlement programs.

This sets the stage for the “super committee,” comprised of 12 members evenly divided between Democrats and Republicans from the Senate and the House, which is tasked with devising a comprehensive $1.5 trillion deficit reduction plan.

Although the members of the “super committee” have not been named it looks like Pennsylvania might play a critical role. Representative Allyson Schwartz (D-13) seems to be a top contender for one of the three Democratic House member positions.

This past week she has been a trending topic online with several stories calling her selection likely (PBS, MSNBC, Business Insider, Washington Post, Huffington Post, CNBC, Yahoo News, Morning Call).

The speculation around Representative Schwartz is justified. She is the second ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, has a good relationship with House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi and is well respected in the moderate circles of the Democratic Party.

The other Pennsylvanian who might get tapped for a spot on the “super committee” is Senator Pat Toomey. During the debt ceiling negotiations Toomey raised his profile by fiercely advocating for serious austerity measures. When the deal was finally reached Toomey was one of the 26 Senators to vote against it; citing that it did not deal with long term spending problems. He was also named by the Washington Post as a possible pick.

Last week during a segment of Greta Van Susteren’s television show Toomey said he, “would be delighted to serve on the committee…and intends to ask to be considered.”

Toomey has reasons to be hopeful – his experience in the private sector is a plus for the GOP. On top of that, if Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell chooses Toomey it will appeal to tea party activists and could help leadership seem more inclusive of the large GOP freshman class.

One GOP insider close to Toomey thinks it’s in the realm of possibility.

“He’s smart on the issues and he’s not up for election for 5 years. [Committee members are] supposed to be Senior Committee Chairs, etc. But you have guys like [Sen. Orrin] Hatch who I’m sure doesn’t want to be on, as there will be lots of controversial calls and his potential primary opponent will throw stones no matter what.”

Neither Schwartz nor Toomey’s office responded to requests for comment, which comes as little surprise as everyone in Washington is keeping their strategy close to the vest on this one.

Keegan Gibson contributed to this report.

4 Responses

  1. Also, I hope Toomey and Schwartz are not afraid to chop away at sacred cows like welfare. Why are criminals getting welfare in Philly, or their families? This rewards criminality and anti-social behavior. Even Obama ran on tying welfare to citizenship behaviors. Start with cutting every convicted flash mob brat and his rotten family off of government welfare and housing subsidy, then keep going. Suddenly crime doesn’t pay, and people value work again. Income tax revenue increases when more people must work. Voila — budgets start to work again.

  2. It would be great if Congress cut HUD. There’s no more corrupting source of federal money than HUD in Philly. From PHA to Universal Companies, the truth is that this money is mostly pork that goes in lawyers’ the local Democratic machine’s pockets. Little of it goes to housing in good condition. The PHA housing in my neighborhood is a druggy, run down, blighted mess that kills taxable equity. Type in “PHA blight” on youtube to see the videos my neighbors made in SWCC of the PHA properties. Where did the money go? Two kids died in fires because PHA never put in hard-wired smoke detectors that would have cost less than a Greene-favored Tumi bag for his fave employees and/or mistresses. PHA doesn’t evict the hard repeat felons in the housing. They don’t do maintenance. Cut HUD and start over. This was never meant to be housing for life. Habitat for Humanity is a better model, and other proven nonprofits, but not PHA and not the porky kick back HUD recipients like Kenny Gamble who just hold vast tracts of vacant land and empty property they do nothing with. HUD is a dud. Cut it and start over and it would clean up Philly politics. http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=pha+blight&aq=f

  3. The Democrats have to agree to the S&P level of cuts. It’s not an arbitrary number if the world economy plummets as a result of not limiting spending to a percent of actual and reasonable future revenue. Keynes stops working after you blow the debt and deficit off any chart of projected revenue. Keynes never said “Spend money you’ll never have.”

  4. The book on Toomey is that he is a solid conservative with positions that appeal to a broad base of Republicans. Not just Tea Party fanatics who are trying to kill off the GOP. He’s a player, and is taken seriously by his peers.

    Senators Toomey and Portman look like soild choices for the gang of 12 super committee. My money is one or both of them. They are also and already constant names being bandied about for the VP slot for ’12 and ’16.

    As the article states, they will have jobs for 5 more years, and this committee will determine what they are made of in terms of fiscal policy. Especially if the committee develops a balanced and workable outcome.

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