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Budget Control Act of 2011

POSTED: August 03, 2011, 12:00 am

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Bill Highlights:


Immediate ten-year discretionary spending caps, totaling $1 trillion in deficit reduction, in defense and non-defense spending

Deal includes cuts in the defense budget, estimated to be $350 billion over the ten-year period – the first cuts in defense in almost two decades

The President is authorized to increase the debt-ceiling by at least $1.2 trillion, making any additional increases not necessary until 2013

The deal provides specific protection to meet President Obama’s commitment to fund the Pell Grant program

The creation of a special Congressional Committee charged with identifying an additional $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction. The committee will be comprised of members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The committee must consider all options to reduce the deficit, including spending cuts and revenue enhancements, including tax reform.

The work of the committee must be fast-tracked in Congress, with any recommendation from the panel assured of an up or down vote, as a way of preventing procedural maneuvers to delay or block action. The committee must report out legislation by November 23, 2011. Congress is required to vote on the committee recommendations by December 23, 2011.

An enforcement provision has been embedded in the language that creates the new committee. If the committee fails to act, automatic spending reductions, with evenly split between domestic and defense spending. Social Security, Medicare and low-income programs would be protected from the automatic cuts under the enforcement mechanism. For example, inaction by the committee would trigger $500 billion in defense cuts on top of the cuts already made under the emergency legislation signed by President Obama on August 2, 2011.

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