One of the key elements of the Budget Control Act of 2011 is the so-called "Super-Congress," a 12-member congressional committee, made up equally of Republicans and Democrats from each chamber, tasked with finding a $1.5 trillion in budget savings on top of the spending reductions already enacted. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker John Boehner and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi each get to select three members from their respective chambers to serve on the committee. Reid announced his picks yesterday, and Boehner and McConnell came out with their selections earlier today. I'll post a critique of the committee's prospective membership once all twelve individuals have been selected, but today something was revealed that I just had to blog about right away.
Perhaps no one seemed a more obvious choice for one of the three slots to be filled by House Republicans than Rep. Paul Ryan (R–WI), chairman of the House Budget Committee and the principal author of the GOP’S "Path to Prosperity." Many expected Boehner to tap the seven-term Wisconsin lawmaker, and some even called Ryan "a natural choice" to co-chair the joint committee. Yet today, when the Speaker revealed his three appointments for the super committee, Ryan's name was conspicuously absent from the list. Alana Goodman, writing for Commentary, asks:
Why no Paul Ryan? It’s hard to believe he wouldn’t have been one of Boehner’s first choices, so could it be Ryan wasn’t interested in the position?
Goodman offered her own well-developed answer, but she only needed to look at Paul Ryan's official web site to solve the mystery. The congressman released a statement today in which he said that he had asked the Speaker not to consider him for the Joint Committee. His reasoning was that "only the Budget Committee can write legislation to reform the budget process." That’s true, but it's somewhat of a shock that one of the smartest guys on the Hill would not want to participate in an endeavor where his intellect and logical acumen will be sorely needed.