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Debt 'Super Committee' Nearly Complete, At 9 Members

The new "Debt Supercommittee" created by the recent deficit ceiling deal now has 9 of its 12 members, as House Speaker John Boehner says Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas will co-chair the new committee, according to the AP.

The panel's task will be to create a bipartisan plan for cutting the federal deficit by around $1.5 trillion. That money could come from a combination of spending cuts and raising revenue.

If the panel fails to reach an agreement, automatic cuts would be made — and the automated cuts were crafted to be unpalatable to both of the major political parties.

In announcing Hensarling's slot, Boehner also named two representatives from Michigan, Dave Camp and Fred Upton, to the committee.

On the Senate side, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has chosen Sens. Jon Kyl of Arizona, Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania and Rob Portman of Ohio to serve on the committee.

Some of their Democratic counterparts were named Tuesday, as Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid named Sen. Patty Murray of Washington as the other co-chair of the panel. Joining her were Sens. Max Baucus of Montana and John Kerry of Massachusetts.

The last three Democratic choices will come from House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

If you have more questions about the Super Committee, the watchdog website OMB Watch has posted a FAQ about the panel. OMB Watch is one of several organizations calling for transparency in the committee's dealings.

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Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.