Congress’s solution to the debt limit crisis and rising deficits is fully operational, but many are left wondering whether the bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (the Deficit Reduction Committee) is capable of fulfilling its mandate when Congress as a whole couldn’t make the hard decisions that were necessary for a long-term solution. And the Deficit Reduction Committee is even more susceptible to deadlock than the full Congress since the Committee is populated by six Republicans and six Democrats.
The super-committee was the end result of months of negotiations between Democrats and Republicans during the debt limit debates. The resulting compromise included $917 billion in discretionary spending cuts over 10 years. The Committee must come up with another $1.2 to $1.5 trillion in cuts.
The Committee must pass a deficit reduction plan by a simple majority vote (7 out of 12). The plan will then go to Congress for a vote. If the Committee fails to reach a compromise proposal or Congress does not adopt the Committee’s proposals, a series of sharp automatic cuts will kick in, slashing budgets across the entire federal government, including the Defense Department.
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For previous coverage of the debt limit fight and resulting compromise in Advisor’s Journal, see Democrats Call Debt Limit Unconstitutional (CC 11-134), Debt Limit Standoff Boils Over (CC 11-115) and Storm Clouds over U.S. Debt (CC 11-85).