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Democrat from LA appointed to debt supercommittee

August 11, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
Three Democrats, including one from Southern California, have been appointed to Congress' new debt-reduction supercommittee.

House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi added Rep. Xavier Becerra from Los Angeles, along with James Clyburn of South Carolina and Chris Van Hollen from Maryland.

"It is an honor and a great responsibility to be entrusted with this assignment by our Leader Nancy Pelosi," Becerra said in a statement.

The choices bring racial diversity to the supercommittee because Clyburn is black and Becerra is Hispanic.

The appointments complete the 12-member panel's roster, made up evenly of Democrats and Republicans.

On Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, named conservative Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, a rising force among House Republicans, as GOP co-chairman of the powerful new panel. He also appointed House Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp and House Energy and Commerce Chairman Fred Upton, a pair of veteran Michigan Republicans, to the committee.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., named confidant and No. 2 Senate GOP leader Jon Kyl of Arizona, tapping a lawmaker who is retiring in 2013 and is a solid conservative. He also appointed GOP Sen. Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, elected last year with tea party backing, and fellow freshman Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, a former budget director and trade representative for President George W. Bush who is viewed as a possible vice presidential pick next year.

On Tuesday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., chose Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who runs the Senate Democratic campaign arm, as Democratic co-chair of the debt committee. He also appointed 2004 Democratic presidential nominee and Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry, D-Mass., and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., a centrist who strayed to back Bush's 2001 tax cuts.

The panel has until Thanksgiving to come up with a plan to cut $1.5 trillion from the U.S. budget, or automatic budget cuts will be triggered.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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