The White House, which once feared it could have little impact on a congressionally created commission to study the federal deficit, yesterday named two of the Reagan administration's most influential former Cabinet officers to the panel.
The selections of former defense secretary Caspar W. Weinberger and former transportation secretary Drew Lewis seem to signal that the administration hopes to have a greater role on the findings of the National Economic Commission, which was created by last year's budget reconciliation act. The panel, composed largely of congressional appointees, is due to report in March 1989, after President Reagan has left office.
Republican congressional leaders also named their selections to the panel yesterday, completing the commission's initial 12 members. The next president will add the panel's final two members.
Senate Minority Leader Robert J. Dole (R-Kan.) selected Sen. Pete Domenici (N.M.), ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, and Dean Kleckner, president of the American Farm Bureau Federation, and House Minority Leader Robert H. Michel (R-Ill.) picked Rep. Bill Frenzel (R-Minn.), a member of the Ways and Means Committee, and Donald Rumsfeld, a former defense secretary and and White House chief of staff during the Ford administration.
House Democrats selected their six panelists in January.
In announcing his selections yesterday, Reagan repeated his view that "when all aspects of the budget are reviewed, the primary policy problem will be viewed not as a lack of revenues, but an inexorable growth in spending."