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Who bankrolls the Super Congress?

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Who bankrolls the Super Congress?

Kyl will oppose 'job-killing' tax hikes in talks

  • U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.
    saeima/FlickrU.S. Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz.

The Super Congress has its work cut out: Twelve lawmakers, including Arizona's Sen. Jon Kyl,  have been tapped to identify more than $1 trillion in spending cuts in an autumn marathon never before seen in Washington.

Democratic Sen. Patty Murray of Washington and Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas will co-chair the committee, with a backup chorus of lawmakers hand-picked by congressional leaders.

Every member of the Super Congress comes with a history of political patrons and connections with special interests. The Center for Public Integrity's iWatch News has produced an in-depth look at their involvement with the gears that make Washington work, often to the consternation of the public and government watchdogs.   

The committee must come up with $1.5 trillion or more in budget savings over the coming decade, enough to match increases in the government's ability to borrow enough money to pay its bills through the beginning of 2013. It requires a bipartisan majority of at least seven of the committee's 12 members to recommend legislation to be presented to the whole Congress for an up-or-down vote by Dec. 23. The select panel has until the day before Thanksgiving to complete its deliberations.

There are powerful incentives for the Super Congress to reach agreement. Perhaps most important, if it fails to produce deficit savings of at least $1.2 trillion, or if the House or Senate votes down its recommendations, severe across-the-board spending cuts would trigger automatically. Additional pressure comes from the Standard & Poor's downgrading of the U.S. government's credit rating.

As with any group of senators and representatives, the members of the Super Congress bring to the table their own set of political activities. These include PAC contributions from special interests; the revolving door of staff in and out of the private sector; the lawmakers' own PACs that dole out donations to favored people running for office.

Super Congress profiles

Democratic senators

Republican senators

Republican House members

Democratic House members

Our profiles include (where appropriate)

  • Top PAC Contributors: Using data from subscription-only CQ MoneyLine, we examined contributions from political action committees 2009, 2010 and 2011 to lawmaker’s campaign committee and leadership PAC, if any
  • Revolving Door: Former staffers who are now registered lobbyists
  • Quotes: Statements on priority the Super Congress, or any noteworthy remarks on how to balance budget, whether to balance budget, etc.

Reprinted by permission of The Center for Public Integrity.

Kyl will oppose 'job-killing' tax hikes in Super Congress talks

Republican Jon Kyl, second-in-command in the Senate minority, is not running for re-election and so has the freedom to stand on principle without angering Arizona voters in the Super Congress debate.

Kyl was involved in the summer bipartisan debt talks led by Vice President Joseph Biden until he pulled out in late June. Kyl and his Republican colleagues were seeking $2.5 trillion in budget cuts. The debt ceiling legislation that ultimately passed includes $1 trillion in cuts and leaves the Super Congress to identify $1.5 trillion more.

On the question of whether the committee will look to tax revenue as part of its work, Kyl is likely to be opposed.“Job-killing tax increases are the wrong medicine for our struggling economy,” he has said.

Kyl, 69, is in his third term in the Senate and serves on the Judicial and Finance committees. Before coming to the Senate, he served four terms in the House of Representatives.

The National Journal declared him to be the most conservative Senator in 2008. He has taken a hard line on taxes, abortion, and immigration, once supporting a measure that would deny citizenship to the children born in this country to parents who were undocumented immigrants. In April, he caused a media storm when he said on the Senate floor that abortions represent “well over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does.” When the figure was revealed as inaccurate, his office’s response that the senator’s comment "was not intended to be a factual statement” only fed the media blitz.

In November 2010, he announced that he would oppose ratification of the New START arms control treaty with Russia.

Top Political Contributions

  • Amgen Inc, a pharmaceutical company — at least $20,500
  • AT&T, the telecommunications giants — at least $20,000
  • Physician Hospitals of America, the trade organization for the physician owned hospitals industry — at least $19,500
  • Citigroup, the financial giant — at least $17,500
  • American Bankers Association, the trade group for members of the financial industry — at least $17,500
  • California Dairies Inc., one of the nation’s largest suppliers of milk based products — at least $17,500
  • PACs have donated almost $1.4 million to Jon Kyl’s campaign committee and his Senate Majority PAC since the start of 2009

Revolving Door

  • Manny Rossman served as Kyl’s chief of staff. Soon after, he joined the lobbying house Breaux Lott Leadership group, a subsidiary of the large K Street lobbyist Patton Boggs, where he works for clients such as Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, General Electric and Delta Airlines
  • Steven Duffield served as policy director and chief counsel to Kyl before founding Endgame Strategies, where he lobbies on behalf of law firms Cozen O’Connor and McGovern & Associates
  • Christine “Christy” Clark , a former policy and defense advisor to Kyl, now works for Podesta Group, lobbying on behalf of clients including electronics maker TE Connectivity and MarketAxess, a company that provides a stock trading platform and services

—Amy Biegelsen, Jeremy Borden and Aaron Mehta/Center for Public Integrity

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