Republican leaders announced Tuesday afternoon that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) would represent the GOP at the May 5 gathering at Blair House to begin talks on a long-term deficit reduction plan.
"Sen. Kyl is a key member of our leadership team and a senior member of the Finance Committee. He understands both the urgency of the debt crisis and the need for a significant effort to reduce that debt before any successful vote on the debt ceiling increase," Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said in a statement.
In his announcement, House Speaker John Boehner emphasized that Cantor would be the "sole" House Republican named to what he called a "deficit spending commission."
"With a crisis of this magnitude, commissions are simply no substitute for action," the Ohio Republican said in a statement.
When President Obama first proposed that Biden head up negotiations, he asked the respective leaders of each party in both houses of Congress to appoint four members of their caucuses each. But an administration official signaled no concern about the Republicans' announcement, saying their only concern was that each party and chamber be represented.