Since the supercommittee didn’t reach a deal

Because the supercommittee could not reach an agreement by its Nov. 23 deadline, the Budget Control Act triggers automatic across-the-board cuts totalling $1.2 trillion over ten years beginning in January 2013. A look at the process, and what's on the table for cuts.

These deadlines were not met:


Nov. 23: The supercommittee needed to approve a plan to reduce the deficit by at least $1.2 trillion (and ideally at least $1.5 trillion). A majority vote (7 of 12) was needed.


These deadlines were not met:


Dec. 2: The committee was supposed to submit its report to the White House, the full Congress and the public in legislative language, so everyone would know how the bill would read.

three things

These deadlines were not met:


Dec. 23: Congress needed to have voted to accept or reject the deal with no amendments; no filibusters are allowed in the Senate.


These deadlines were not met:

white house

Jan. 15, 2012: The bill needed to be signed by the president and enacted into law.

Because those deadlines were not met, across-the-board cuts totalling $1.2 trillion over ten years will begin in January 2013.
These are some of the programs that WILL be cut.

  • DEFENSE: $54.7 billion per year
  • (according to an estimate by
    Defense Secretary Leon Panetta)
  • Ship building and other construction projects
  • Large procurement programs
  • The size of the military
  • Civilian jobs with the military
  • Contractors working with the military
pie chart of cuts
  • DOMESTIC: $54.7 billion per year
  • Medicare payments to providers and insurance companies would be cut by
    no more than 2 percent.
  • Border patrol
  • Justice Department
  • IRS
  • TSA
  • EPA
  • NOAA
  • Bureau of Prisons

These are some of the programs that WILL NOT be cut.

  • War financing
  • In addition, the president can exempt military pay from cuts.
pie chart of cuts
  • Social Security
  • Medicaid
  • Children's Health Insurance Plan
  • Food stamp program (now called SNAP)
  • Child nutrition
  • Supplemental Security Income
  • Refundable tax credits such as the Earned Income Tax Credit
  • Veterans benefits
  • Pell Grants
  • Federal employees' retirement

SOURCE: News reports. GRAPHIC: Bonnie Berkowitz and Laura Stanton - The Washington Post. Published Nov. 15, 2011.

A who's who of the debt supercommittee

A look at the 12-member supercommittee that must turn in its recommendations for $1.2 trillion in additional spending cuts by Thanksgiving or risk pulling an automatic trigger for deep reductions to federal agencies and defense programs.

The supercommittee's K Street connections

Nearly 100 former aides to members of the Congressional supercommittee now work as K Street lobbyists, often representing clients with a vested interest in the panel's decisions. A half dozen former lobbyists are also currently employed by the lawmakers. The connections mean that many lobbyists are now trying to convince their former employers to go easy on their corporate clients.