Congressional approval to raise the debt ceiling will not end the war in Congress over taxes, spending and the deficit. Under the new law extending the debt ceiling, the federal government will reduce spending by $900 billion over a 10-year period and delegate responsibility for even more cuts to a bipartisan 12-member congressional committee, often referred to as the "Super Congress."
The Super Congress, consisting of six senators and six representatives equally divided by party, will have until Nov. 23, 2011, to develop a plan to reduce the budget deficit by at least $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
If the Super Congress can come up with a plan that seven members agree to, it will go to a vote in both houses of Congress by Dec. 23, 2011. The Super Congress’s proposal will go to an "up or down vote" — that is, it can pass with a simple majority of each house.
And in an exception to most bills that Congress considers, no filibustering or amendments will be allowed. If the Super Congress cannot agree on a plan, or it doesn’t pass Congress, draconian across-the-board spending cuts of about $1.2 trillion will be automatically triggered — something no one wants.