Though the official deadline for a vote by the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction is Wednesday, November 23, the real deadline is midnight tonight since any plan has to be posted for 48 hours before it is voted on. At this point, it appears that no such plan will be made available. Republicans continue to criticize Democrats for refusing to accept any spending cuts or substantive changes to entitlement programs (Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security) without comparable tax increases. Democrats counter that Republicans refused to consider any steps that would ensure top earners provide a share of the savings through higher taxes (a “balanced” solution). Throughout the Committee’s process, The Arc advocated for protecting Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security because the budget cannot be balanced on the backs of people with disabilities, seniors, and low income populations. It is disappointing that the Committee will likely not come to an agreement that would have protected these critical programs while ensuring significant revenues were part of the solution. Unfortunately, “no deal” at the moment leaves lots of unknowns for the rest of the programs on which people with disabilities rely to live independently in the community. Since the Committee is unlikely to reach agreement by tonight the next step as called for by the Balanced Budget Act is $1.2 trillion in automatic, across the board spending cuts, scheduled to take effect from 2012 to 2021.