House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) met Wednesday with the six Republican members of the debt supercommittee, one day before the bipartisan panel is set to hold its first public meeting.
“This is a very important committee,” Boehner said in impromptu remarks to reporters after the meeting, according to the speaker’s office. “We are committed to this committee getting an outcome, and we believe that by reducing debt we create a better environment to producing jobs in America; we’ve talked about this all year. We believe in it as strongly today as we did then. This is a serious effort that’s underway, we’re taking it that way and we’re encouraging our members to work hard to get an outcome.”
The six Republican members of the panel are Sens. Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Rob Portman (Ohio) and Pat Toomey (Pa.) and Reps. Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Fred Upton (Mich.) and Dave Camp (Mich.). Wednesday’s huddle marked their second in-person meeting since congressional leaders announced the group’s membership last month.
The supercommittee’s Democratic members held a separate huddle Wednesday, the first in-person meeting among the six delegates. The meeting included Sens. Patty Murray (Wash.), John Kerry (Mass.) and Max Baucus (Mont.) and Reps. Xavier Becerra (Calif.), James Clyburn (S.C.) and Chris Van Hollen (Md.).
The bipartisan group is set to hold its first public hearing at 10:30 a.m. Thursday in Room 2123 of the Rayburn House Office Building. The panel has until Thanksgiving to come up with $1.5 trillion in deficit savings over the next decade or else the “trigger” will be pulled on $1.2 trillion in across-the-board spending cuts.