The bipartisan Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction – better known as the “Super Committee” – is in full swing. The committee has met twice so far, and just held their first hearing on Tuesday. They have their work cut out for them over the next few months. Here are some important dates to keep in mind as the Super Committee does its work:
November 23: Deadline for Super Committee to vote on legislative proposals
December 2: Deadline for Super Committee to formally submit legislation to Congress
December 23: Deadline for House and Senate to hold an up-or-down vote on the Super Committee’s proposals
January 15, 2012: Deadline for enactment of at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, or across-the board spending cuts will be triggered
At their hearing this week, committee members were adamant that by the beginning of November, they must identify a specific list of recommended cuts to reduce our deficit by at least $1.2 trillion. This will give the Congressional Budget Office enough time to review these recommendations and give them a “score” before the Thanksgiving deadline. This score is the official estimate for how much a proposal will actually save or cost the federal government.
What kind of issues is the Super Committee talking about right now? A lot of their proposed ideas are ones that you have probably heard before but have not been enacted into law. There is discussion about closing tax loopholes, simplifying the tax code, and reforming entitlement programs such as Medicare and Social Security. So many of the issues the committee will have to deal with are ones Congress has put off for decades. The Super Committee will now have to confront the most expensive parts of our federal budget if they will ever be able to meet the requirements of the debt limit agreement and avoid massive across-the-board cuts.
The Super Committee does not have time to debate how things got so bad and who is to blame. More than ever, the committee must focus on where we want this country to go from here. This is a time for members to work in a bipartisan manner and put the good of our country ahead of ideological political theatrics.
I have been posting the links so you can watch live on my Facebook and Twitter accounts as more meetings and hearings are scheduled. I encourage you to follow this closely. I also encourage you to visit the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction official website at https://deficitreduction.senate.gov/public/index.cfm/ so you remain “in the know” on this critical issue.