Rep. Dave Camp (R-Mich.), chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, was appointed to be the Republican co-chair of the deficit-cutting super committee, while Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), secretary of the Senate Democratic Caucus, will be the Democratic co-chair. Other Democrats appointed to the committee, include Senate Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.) and Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman John Kerry (D-Mass.), according to a recent Senate release. Republicans named, include: House Republican Conference chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex.) and House Energy and Commerce Committee chair Fred Upton (R-Mich.), according to a House release issued Aug. 10. Several of the members appointed, including Kerry are known to be defense stalwarts. Camp is pro-military though has said he’s open to cutting defense spending. The bipartisan, bicameral committee, which will include six members from each party, was mandated in the Budget Control Act of 2011 to find at least $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by Thanksgiving or the Pentagon’s budget will automatically be slashed—a move Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said would devastate the US military’s capabilities.
The U.S. supports “a stronger and more capable” European defense, Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III said during an Oct. 22 press conference in Brussels—but that defense should not duplicate the functions and capabilities of the NATO alliance.