• Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction Update
  • November 9, 2011 | Author: B. Jeffrey Brooks
  • Law Firm: Adams and Reese LLP - Washington Office
  • With a late-November deadline approaching, the Joint Committee on Deficit Reduction has been trying to compromise on a far-reaching deal to reduce the national deficit.  As stipulated in the debt-reduction legislation that was passed in August (PL 112-25), the Joint Committee is a bicameral, bipartisan group consisting of six House Members and six Senators.

    After a series of fifteen meetings that were closed to the public, Republican and Democratic committee members are still divided on taxes.  While Democrats maintain that any entitlement cuts should be accompanied by an increase in taxes, Republicans remain opposed to any tax increases.  Democrats have released a $3 trillion plan that calls for an additional $1 trillion in taxes.  Alternatively, a $2.2 trillion Republican plan avoids directly raising taxes.  Notably, both parties proposed an overhaul of the tax code in their plans.  Additionally, House and Senate leadership have recently met with the co-chairmen of the Joint Committee in an effort to resolve the tax differences.    

    Important deadlines for the Joint Committee are as follows:

    • November 23- The Joint Committee is required to vote on a report of its recommendations and implementing legislation.
    • December 9- Standing Congressional Committees must report the Joint Committee's legislation to the House and Senate floors without amendment.
    • December 23- Both the House and Senate are required to vote on the Joint Committee legislation.
    • January 15- The Joint Committee legislation must be enacted to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over ten years.