Clyburn picked by Pelosi for debt supercommittee

WASHINGTON (WACH, AP) -- House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has appointed three Democrats to Congress' new debt-reduction supercommittee, completing the 12-member panel's roster.

The California Democrat appointed Reps. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and Xavier Becerra of California, who are both members of the party's House leadership teams. She also named Maryland's Chris Van Hollen, top Democrat on the Budget Committee.

I look forward to working on this committee to seek solutions to secure our nation's financial future in a fair and balanced way that requires shared sacrifice and creates opportunity for all Americans," Clyburn says.

Pelosi's appointments bring racial diversity to the supercommittee because Clyburn is black and Becerra is Hispanic.

Too often, the human side gets lost in the Washington debates about our nation's debt and deficits," the South Carolina Representative adds. "I will seek to keep those interests on the table."

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The panel is divided evenly among Democrats and Republicans. It 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.

The 12 lawmakers appointed to the new supercommittee have received millions in contributions from special interests with a stake in potential cuts to federal programs.

An Associated Press review of federal campaign data finds that the six Democrats and six Republicans on the committee have gotten a total of more than $3 million during the past five years. Those contributions went to their outside election committees and included donations from defense companies and health care groups.

The appointments have prompted early concerns from watchdog groups, which urged the lawmakers to stop fundraising and resign from leadership positions in political groups.

(The Associated Press contributed to this report.)