The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction held its first in-person organizational meeting on September 8th. This meeting was open to the public and was broadcast on the internet. The Committee gave voice vote approval to rules governing its proceedings that its Co-Chairmen Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA) say will allow the panel to conduct its business in an open and transparent manner, but also allow the panel to meet privately. The rules require a majority vote of the 12-member panel to close a hearing or meeting to the public and post transcripts and hearing materials to the Committee’s website. Click here to see the adopted rules.
During the meeting, Committee Members staked out their positions, with Democrats calling for job-creation measures and additional revenue and Republicans focusing on changes in entitlement programs (Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security) and budgetary stability. Several Members said they would like to go beyond the panel’s mandate to recommend ways to reduce deficit spending by $1.5 trillion over 10 years. The bipartisan Committee, established by the Budget Control Act, is charged with identifying $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction which can include spending cuts from all entitlement and discretionary programs as well as revenue increases. The Committee is expected to finalize its plan by late October or early November in order to allow sufficient time for the Congressional Budget Office to develop cost estimates before the November 23 deadline for Congress to vote on its legislative proposal. Learn more about the Budget Control Act and how it may affect funding for discretionary disability-related programs.