Understanding the Budget Work of the “Super Committee”

By Simone Campbell, SSS
August 31, 2011

In the beginning of August we wrote about the debt-ceiling deal and what was in it and what was not. As Congress comes back after Labor Day, we will need to be focused on many issues. The “Super Committee” will be meeting to craft a deal for 2014 and beyond. The “regular order” will be used to finish the Fiscal Year 2012 budget and appropriation process. We imagine that sometimes it will be difficult to keep clear which aspect of the work we are talking about in our alerts. We will do our best to keep you up-to-date on all of this.

The Super Committee has a few clear dates. They must adopt any recommendations by majority vote (7 votes) by November 23, 2011. If they make recommendations, then both houses of Congress must vote on them by December 23, 2011. If Congress fails to adopt a plan to cut the debt and deficit, then there are automatic cuts that take effect January 1, 2012, called “sequester.” However, it should be noted that while the “sequester” takes effect in 2012. the cuts do not go into effect until January 1, 2013. This means (at least theoretically) that Congress could keep working on some way to solve the debt and deficit problem during 2012. There are some advocates who expect the Super Committee to fail and the matter to finally be resolved in a lame- duck session after the 2012 election.

We at NETWORK want the Super Committee to be responsible and do their work in a way that protects the low income working poor people of our country. We need to be able to create opportunity for all people of our nation, not just the corporate owners.