WASHINGTON -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi's appointment of three Democrats to Congress' new debt-reduction supercommittee completes the roster of a panel whose members are already being tugged in competing directions.
Pelosi selected Reps. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Xavier Becerra of California, who both are members of the party's House leadership, and Maryland's Chris Van Hollen, the top Democrat on the Budget Committee. The choices bring racial diversity to the supercommittee; Clyburn is black and Becerra is Hispanic.
The 12-member panel, divided evenly among Democrats and Republicans, has until Thanksgiving to propose $1.5 trillion in 10-year budget savings. If it does not propose a package or if Congress doesn't approve it, $1.2 trillion in automatic budget cuts will be triggered.
In a statement, Pelosi (D-Calif.) said the supercommittee's goal should be "to grow an American prosperity enjoyed by all Americans." She said it should aim at producing jobs and economic growth that reduces budget deficits.
Complicating the panel's task are the economy's alarming stall, the chaos dominating financial markets and last week's historic downgrade of the government's credit rating. Next year's presidential and congressional elections will put added political pressures on the lawmakers.
Pelosi said that when Congress returns from recess next month, it should pass jobs legislation, including highway and aviation bills lawmakers have been working on.
Job creation legislation usually costs the government money and drives up short-term deficits.
Other congressional leaders had made their selections earlier this week.