Deficit ‘Super Committee’ Faces Aggressive Timetable

We hope the recently established “Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction” (fondly referred to as the Congressional “super committee”) is off to a good start, because time’s a wastin’.

The JSC’s goal is to come up with ways to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over fiscal years 2012 through 2021 and in so doing, “provide recommendations and legislative language that will significantly improve the short-term and long-term fiscal imbalance of the Federal government.”

The next important date in this process will be October 14, by which House and Senate committees must transmit to the JSC their “recommendations” for law changes necessary to meet the goal of JSC. And then by November 23, the JSC must vote on a report which will contain its findings, conclusions, and recommendations, as well as the dollar estimates provided by the Congressional Budget Office, and legislative language in support of those recommendations. And no less than one month later, if the JSC approves a report and legislative language, it must be voted on by both the Senate and House — without amendments.

If the Committee cannot agree on a report and legislative language, then across-the-board reductions in spending must be implemented, with annual cuts starting in 2013 – split 50/50 between defense and domestic spending.

Further, Obama has said that if the JSC doesn’t approve a report, or if Congress fails to pass the JSC’s recommendations, something like $1 trillion of deficit reduction will be achieved automatically, by allowing the “Bush tax cuts” to expire at the end of 2012.

Sounds like another last minute “tax planning” year looms on the horizon as the end of 2011 draws near.