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GOP Picks for Gang of 12
Grover Norquist has dreams about these guys
Each of the six members chosen by Republicans to serve on the Gang of 12 Super Congress have signed Grover Norquist's pledge against raising taxes of any sort. That's not a shock, given that they're all Republicans, but it's still the most important thing to know about them.

Here's some other thoughts:

Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI): Camp is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee. If there's going to be tax reform, it'd have to go through him. But in addition to signing Norquist's pledge, he voted for both of Bush's tax cuts, so there's no reason to believe he'll support any meaningful revenue increase.

Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI): Lobbyists will be thrilled with Fred Upton's selection. As head of the House Energy & Commerce committee, he's one of the most important members of Congress...and if you work on K Street, he'll be sure to defend your interests.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX): To put it kindly, Hensarling is an idiot or a liar or both. President Obama schooled him in 2010 when he claimed that Bush wasn't responsible for the $1.3 trillion FY2009 budget deficit. Then he claimed the budget surpluses came from Bush, not Clinton. And earlier this year he demanded that President Obama get his government hands off his mother's Medicare...before voting to eliminate Medicare.

Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH): The great thing about Rob Portman is that he was Bush's budget director form 2006 to 2007. Plus, he voted for both of Bush's tax cuts and for Bush's invasion of Iraq, so when he talks about fiscal nightmares, he knows exactly what he's talking about.

Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ): Kyl voted for both Bush tax cuts and like the other Republican picks toes the conservative line, but he's most famous for falsely claiming that abortion services represent well over 90% of what Planned Parenthood does. The figure is actually 3%. Kyl clarified that his initial remarks "were not intended to be a factual statement."

Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA): Toomey is an unreconstructed wingnut who opposed raising debt limit and voted against debt deal. Former head of Club for Growth, wouldn't support a tax hike if his life depended on it.

Bottom-line: there's basically zero chance that any of these guys will support a marginally acceptable deficit reduction package. At most, they'll support tax reform that they'll claim will generate revenue through economic growth. The danger here is that the Obama administration will embrace such a deal and push Congressional Democrats to accept it as well because tax reform would take the Bush tax cuts off the table by changing the rate structure, even if revenue isn't actually increased.

That's why it's important for Democrats and the administration to stake out a clear position: no deal unless the Bush high-income tax cuts are effectively repealed. And they must be prepared to accept the trigger.

Originally posted to The Jed Report on Wed Aug 10, 2011 at 09:31 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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