Here is a look at what is in the framework of what is called the Budget Control Act of 2011:
- More than $900 billion in deficit reduction over 10 years through discretionary spending caps . $350 billion of that comes from the Pentagon;
- Debt limit increased by at least $2.1 trillion — through 2013…see below for more on how that happens;
- Bipartisan super-committee is tasked with finding $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction by November 23 presumably through tax and entitlement reform. There will be 12 members of the super-committee. House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., each get to pick three members;
- Congress must vote on recommendations made by the bipartisan Congressional deficit reduction committee by December 23;
- If Congress fails to pass the committee proposal, triggers are enacted that spur at least $1.2 trillion in cuts and those will be close to 50/50 split between domestic/defense spending. But the triggers exempt cuts to Social Security, Medicare beneficiaries and low income programs. The cuts will take effect on January 2, 2013.
The way the debt ceiling is raised is very complicated:
- Immediately after passage of this bill, the president certifies the US government is within $100 billion of hitting the debt ceiling and is given authority to raise the debt ceiling by $400 billion.
- That also triggers a request to increase the debt ceiling by $500 billion — with a process in which Congress can vote to disapprove. The expected outcome: the president vetoes the disapproval, Congress fails to override the veto, and the President is given the authority to raise the debt ceiling by $500 billion.
- The second tranche comes in December. If the super-committee fails to produce a path to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion, or Congress fails to pass it, the president makes a request for the authority to raise the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion. Congress votes to disapprove, the president vetoes it, Congress fails to over-ride the veto, he gets the authority to raise the debt ceiling by $1.2 trillion.
- OR the super-committee succeeds in finding anywhere between $1.2 trillion and $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction and Congress passes it. The president automatically is given the authority to raise the debt ceiling by an equal amount, with no disapproval process.
Also, if Congress sends a Balanced Budget Budget Amendment to the states, the president is immediately given the authority to raise the debt ceiling by $1.5 trillion.
- Jake Tapper (@jaketapper)