Thursday, August 11, 2011

Revised Demographic Count of JSC Members

The last Joint Select Committee members were named, and just as I was getting ready to write this item I checked the Twitter machine, and alas David Dayen totally beat me to it:
These House Dem selections for SuperCongress are really Nancy Pelosi, Nancy Pelosi and Nancy Pelosi. All leadership figures.
And see, I was all ready to do a post that the demographic counts that were popping up earlier were all wrong because the adjusted count for the House should account for that Pelosi picked herself for all three spots. No, really, I was gonna.

Dayen's story on it, which (I think correctly) emphasizes the leadership ties of the entire group, is here. The three Democrats are James Clyburn, Xavier Becerra, and Chris Van Hollen.

Just to review...the way this works now is that the committee will most likely deadlock. It is possible that a larger deal will be struck outside the Joint Select Committee (that is, basically between Barack Obama and John Boehner, with both needing backing from their parties, which is why it's not likely to happen); if that happens before the deadline, then the committee will certainly go along (with perhaps a few dissents) and the debt limit deal procedures will be used to pass it. If not, then we'll get the trigger...after which we'll have attempts to pass something to replace the trigger, but those attempts will not have the parliamentary advantages of a JSC solution.

It's highly unlikely that a one-person defection on either side could lead to a deal that would win in both the House and the Senate. Well, I suppose one could be more specific: a deal produced by six Democrats and one Republican defector would have no chance whatsoever in the House. A deal produced by six Republicans and one Democratic defector would have a very slim, but non-zero, chance of passing in the Senate (and the chances of that kind of defection from either side are very, very small).

Other than whether they might defect, do the individuals on the JSC matter at all? Perhaps. They might do some work identifying future possible consensus spending cuts, or even future possible tax increases, that might then be included in some future deal. And if that's the case, the committee members probably have some leeway in how they put that together. But anything more is, I'd say, very unlikely.

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