The enacted Budget Control Act contained a series of deadlines beginning in August of 2011 and lasting through 2013, the first of which required House and Senate leadership to appoint members to the supercommittee (so far, 9 of the 12 members have been named). Once the committee is fully formed, they have until September 16th to hold their first meeting. The supercommittee must vote on a plan to produce at least $1.5 trillion in savings by November 23. Following the approval of the plan, they have until the end of the following week (December 2) to submit a report and accompanying legislative language to the President and Congress. The committees with jurisdiction over aspects of the supercommittee bill must then report the bill without any changes and send to the full House and Senate for votes no later than December 23. Congress is also tasked with voting on a Balanced Budget Amendment by the end of 2011.
These crucial deadlines give Congress plenty to work on once they return from August recess but prior to their adjournment for the first session of the 112th Congress. Once they return in 2012, the next steps will be largely contingent upon what was accomplished prior to the December 31 deadline. In the event that Congress has not passed a joint resolution of disapproval, the Secretary of Treasury is authorized to raise the debt limit by an additional $500 billion. In addition, if the supercommittee’s plan does not pass Congress or does not produce $1.2 trillion in savings, a series of automatic, across-the-board cuts known as sequestration would be triggered, although these cuts would not go into effect until 2013. Stay tuned to the Children’s Monitor, as we will continue to update the information on the next steps for the supercommittee.