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Congress: Reid's pick-three

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid selected Sens. John Kerry, Patty Murray, and Max Baucus to serve on the joint committee tasked with finding another $1.5 trillion in cuts or revenue. (Here are quick bios of them.)

The RNC attacked the selection of Murray, who also serves as the head of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, the committee responsible for trying to elect Democratic senators. “Harry Reid’s appointment of Patty Murray to Co-Chair the Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is absolute proof that Democrats are not serious about deficit reduction,” RNC Chair Reince Priebus said in a written statement. “As Chair of the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee, Murray is the Senate Democrats’ fundraiser-in-chief. The Select Committee is no place for someone whose top priority is fundraising and politics. Majority Leader Harry Reid should immediately withdraw her appointment.”

Roll Call: “House Republicans’ panel picks might prove the most important. Several attempts at reaching a ‘grand bargain’ on the deficit have blown up over the House GOP’s consistent opposition to tax increases. Reid last week warned that the committee would not produce a bill unless Republicans agreed to increase revenue.”

“After watching a two-week shutdown of the Federal Aviation Administration, transportation advocates and congressional staffers are concerned that the federal gas tax could become the next confrontational issue that Democrats and Republicans push to the brink,” The Hill writes.

Grover Norquist told First Read the gas tax is “part of the next fight.”

“House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) blamed President Obama and the Democrats Tuesday for the recent downgrading of the U.S. credit rating, saying that if Democrats had joined with Republicans in passing the GOP budget, which the House passed in April, ‘it's unlikely anyone would be talking about the United States being downgraded today,’” The Hill reports. “In a conference call with House Republicans, the Speaker told colleagues that the Standard & Poor's downgrade on Friday was not a surprise, since Republicans ‘have been warning (it) could happen for months.’”

(But it’s also unlikely anyone would be talking about a downgrade if the GOP hadn’t tied the debt-ceiling increase to equal spending cuts.)

“Sen. John McCain has a message for Tea Partiers furious with him for recently likening them to ‘hobbits’: He's not sorry,” the New York Daily News writes. “The Arizona Republican came under fire Monday during a town-hall meeting in his home state when angry constituents asked him to apologize for remarks that he made during the debt-limit debate last month. ‘What was wrong that I said?’ asked McCain in Gilbert, Ariz. ‘I don't know what to apologize for.’”