Understanding the Debt Deal and Defense

Baker Spring /

Yesterday, the House of Representatives voted to increase the nation’s debt ceiling, restrict federal spending, and reduce the deficit in a bill called “the Budget Control Act of 2011.”

This legislation would increase the debt ceiling by at least $2.1 trillion and would impose initial caps on discretionary spending from fiscal year (FY) 2012 through FY 2021 of just under $1 trillion. Third, it would establish a congressional joint committee to draft legislation with a goal of reducing the federal deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion. If the committee’s recommendations are not enacted by Congress, then automatic spending cuts kick in. These spending cuts would be evenly divided between defense and non-defense discretionary spending only—leaving aside altogether mandatory spending, which accounts for roughly 60 percent of the federal budget. (more…)