(posted by Audrey Riley for Karen Ward, intern)
10. President Obama and congressional leaders reached a deal to raise the debt ceiling and reduce the deficit by at least $2.1 trillion over 10 years in two parts.
9. This plan will last through early 2013, so we don’t have to go through this ordeal again within a few months, as proposed in previous versions of the plan.
8. The deal creates a bipartisan, bicameral (with members from both parties and both legislative chambers) “super committee” that must report by late November. This committee must make specific recommendations to reduce the deficit by an additional $1.5 trillion over 10 years.
7. The committee’s recommendations are to receive special procedural treatment in Congress, requiring a simple up-or-down vote by Christmas. The committee is directed to look at everything, including revenues, entitlement reforms, and defense spending.
6. The bill caps discretionary spending, leading to $840 billion in cuts over 10 years. For the first two years, there are different caps for security and non-security spending.
Security in this case includes foreign assistance (including poverty-focused development) along with defense, homeland security and other areas.
5. Discretionary programs important to people suffering from poverty are at risk of deep cuts. Programs include international food aid, poverty-focused development assistance, WIC, job-training programs, Head Start and Hunger Free Communities.
4. Because foreign assistance is considered security spending, it could be at risk of even deeper cuts should Congress attempt to protect defense spending over foreign assistance.
3. The initial cuts and caps do not affect mandatory spending. The super committee will be tasked with mandatory spending cuts and reforms. Changes to entitlement programs could have devastating consequences for SNAP (formerly known as food stamps), unemployment insurance, Medicaid and other programs.
2. If the super committee fails to produce recommendations totaling at least $1.2 trillion, automatic across-the-board cuts would be triggered every year for 9 years, starting in 2013. Cuts would be split 50/50 between defense and non-defense spending. Means-tested entitlement programs would be exempt from these cuts.
1. Means–tested entitlement programs that are exempted include SNAP, Medicaid and others. While means-tested entitlement programs are protected, all other vital programs, including poverty-focused development assistance and WIC, will be open to deep cuts.
Take action! Call your members of Congress at 1-800-826-3688 to make sure they are considering the safety and livelihood of those suffering from hunger and poverty in our country. Write a letter to the editor to get the word out! Together we can make a difference for millions of people in this country and around the world.