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'Supercommittee' misses deadline

2011 November 22

By Chris Copsey, Legislative Research Director  & Paul Theobald, Intern, University of Texas, Austin Office 

The United States Congress Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction (JSC), better known as the ‘Supercommittee’, was created by the Budget Control Act of 2011 (BCA), enacted into law on August 2, 2011. Failure to pass the BCA was what would have resulted, according to President Obama, in the United States of America defaulting on its debts. The BCA increased the debt ceiling by $400B, with the option for a greater increase provided certain requirements are met, while cutting spending over the next decade by approximately $900B. In addition, the JSC was created and tasked with cutting an additional $1.2T over the next decade.
 
As stated previously, the JSC itself was officially created by the BCA. It was established with the goal of improving both the short and long term financial outlook of the US and reducing the deficit “...by at least $1,500,000,000 over the period of fiscal years 2012 to 2021” (BCA Title IV SEC 401(b)(2)). In addition, it was given the power to subpoena witnesses, papers, reports, and other necessary information that the joint committee considers advisable.
 
The BCA set several deadlines for the operation of this committee.

  • The first official meeting of the JSC occurred on September 8, 2011 and the termination for the JSC was set for January 31, 2012 (note that the deadline for legislation to be enacted in the same bill is set for January 15, 2012). 
  • All Senate ...

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