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Today’s Headlines – August 11, 2011

Good Thursday Morning! Today’s early morning highlights from the major news organizations, including details about the GOP selections for the deficit deal’s ‘super committee’ and speculation about what the panel’s chances might be for success.

The New York Times: 6 Republicans Named To Deficit Panel
The top Republicans in the House and the Senate appointed six lawmakers on Wednesday to a powerful new Congressional committee that is supposed to find ways to reduce federal budget deficits by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years. Two of the Republican appointees have a history of working with Democrats. … The panel, the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction, is supposed to come up with recommendations by Nov. 23. If it fails, or if its proposals are not enacted, the government will automatically cut spending across the board to ensure savings (Pear, 8/10).

For more headlines …

Los Angeles Times: GOP Announces Its Budget Deficit ‘Super Committee’ Selections
House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) on Wednesday appointed Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas, a conservative leader, as co-chairman. He also named Rep. Dave Camp of Michigan, chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, and Rep. Fred Upton, also from Michigan, who is chairman of the Energy and Commerce Committee and a former budget officer in the Reagan administration. In the Senate, GOP leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky tapped Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the chamber’s No. 2 Republican. … McConnell also chose Rob Portman of Ohio, who served as director of the Office of Management and Budget under President George W. Bush, and anti-tax stalwart Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania. … Democratic Sens. Patty Murray of Washington, Max Baucus of Montana and John F. Kerry of Massachusetts were appointed Tuesday. Murray, who will be the co-chairwoman, is also head of the party’s campaign committee. All three Democrats are viewed as seasoned, but often partisan, deal brokers. As chairman of the Finance Committee, Baucus has a working relationship with Camp on tax issues (Mascaro, 8/10).

The Wall Street Journal: Republicans Set Debt-Panel Roster
Republican House and Senate leaders named six conservative diehards Wednesday to the new deficit-cutting committee, but the appointees’ histories suggested they might be open to striking a deal with Democrats. … These members now join the Democrats appointed by Mr. Reid—Ms. Murray and Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and John Kerry of Massachusetts. All these members have close ties to their party leaders. The committee’s chances of reaching an ambitious agreement may depend as much on whether the leaders want one as on the internal workings of the panel itself. Mr. Hensarling and Ms. Murray will lead the committee (Bendavid, 8/11).

Politico: Super-Committee Lineup Gives Hope For Deal
As markets continue to rise and dive in a post-downgrade free-for-all and lawmakers face angst-ridden constituents on the town hall circuit, Capitol Hill is looking at the lineup of the new deficit reduction “super committee” as a critical chance to prove Congress can function during a crisis. The roster is nearly set, and veteran political analysts say the picks made so far show a seriousness of purpose from Republican and Democratic leaders in the Senate and House, giving a glimmer of hope that there could be a breakthrough deal this year (Allen, 8/10).

The Associated Press/Washington Post: Congress’ Supercommittee Faces Warring Pressures To Follow Party Ideology, Find Big Debt Cuts
Members of both parties said the job of whittling down the government’s enormous debt was urgent, yet critics expressed little hope that the bipartisan panel would be able to overcome stark political divides. … “It’s not going to be simple to come to a deal,” said Maya MacGuineas, president of the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, which advocates balanced budgets and a larger package of savings. She said greater debt-reduction would require addressing the entire budget, meaning both parties would have to yield — Republicans in their opposition to revenue increases and Democrats in their resistance to trimming benefits from Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid (Fram, 8/11).

Kaiser Health News tracked Wednesday’s headlines after the GOP selections were made.

Politico: Can Patty Murray Balance Politics And Super Committee?
Democratic Sen. Patty Murray is under scrutiny from Republicans, watchdog groups and even some liberal activists as she sits atop the powerful deficit reduction “super committee,” while she plans to raise millions of dollars running the campaign arm for Senate Democrats. Critics contend that the same Washington lobbyists who are eager to protect their turf and push their agendas before the 12-member deficit committee could very well be the big donors that the Republican and Democratic campaigns need to keep their campaign war chests filled (Raju, 8/10).

The Hill: Supercommittee Gives Kerry Chance To Shine, Worrying Liberals
Colleagues and Senate aides see Kerry as eager to be part of a significant legislative achievement and that concerns liberal groups and labor unions. They fear the supercommittee may cut entitlement programs (Bolton, 8/11).

The Hill: Toomey Emerges As Surprise Tea Party Republican Voice On ‘Supercommittee’
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) will serve as the de facto Tea Party voice on Congress’s “supercommittee” following his surprise appointment to the deficit-reduction panel. … Toomey, however, emphasized the need for bipartisanship on the panel shortly after being named to it. … Toomey, a former bond trader, has carved out a niche as a loud conservative voice in the Senate. He put forward his own budget proposal that he claimed would have balanced the budget in nine years — the fastest put forward by any lawmaker. And he emerged as a major dissenter in the debt-limit debate, functioning as a persistent thorn in Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner’s side (Schroeder, 8/10).

The Associated Press/New York Times: Health Clinics Run By Espada Will Lose Aid
The State Health Department said Wednesday that it would revoke the eligibility for Medicaid reimbursement for a network of health clinics run by Pedro Espada Jr., a former state senator accused of looting it to finance a lavish lifestyle. In a letter to Mr. Espada, health officials said the network, Comprehensive Community Development Corporation, also known as Soundview HealthCare Network, had no compliance program as required to verify claims and costs. The state will revoke the network’s Medicaid eligibility on Sept. 12 (8/10).