The final, bitterly disputed, vote in the House was 269-161 and 74-26 in the Senate. The plan, which involved deep negotiations, would raise the federal debt limit in two stages by over $2 trillion. The plan also calls for cuts in government spending to be phased in over the next decade. Thousands of programs face huge cuts. However, no benefits will be cut from the Social Security or Medicare programs.
Any tax increases are also off the table as lawmakers in both parties oppose either the repeal of most tax expenditures or other tax law changes.
Both sides of the bitter argument complained of flaws in the final agreement which also would create a joint congressional committee responsible for finding additional savings, including a demand that any increase in borrowing be matched by spending cuts. The cuts are likely to come from agencies and such programs as federal retirement benefits, farm subsidies, student loans and grants, Medicaid and Pentagon spending.
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For the full text of the Budget Control Act of 2011, click here.
A special thanks to article contributor Diane Giordano, Tax Partner.