Understanding the Debt Ceiling and the "Super Committee"

In early August the President signed into law the Budget Control Act of 2011, which is reported to save approximately $917 billion over the next ten years and will raise the debt ceiling by $900 billion, therefore carrying the government through the end of 2011. The bill also establishes a new joint Congressional committee that will be charged with coming up with an additional $1.5 trillion needed in additional reductions by November 23, 2011.
The committee can consider reductions to entitlement programs (such as Medicare, Social Security), tax entitlements, and defense spending.  If recommendations by the special Congressional committee are deadlocked or not approved by Congress by the end of 2011, then more than $1 trillion in automatic spending cuts will be triggered. The cuts could potentially hit defense spending and payments to Medicare providers (not beneficiaries). Below are some resources to help clarify the debt ceiling and the “super committee” created to come up with spending cuts.
If you have a relationship with a member of the Committee or even if your Senator or Representative is on the Committee it would be worthwhile to contact them and express your support for programs that benefit you! including Medicare and Social Security. If you would like assistance in outreach to your member of Congress please don’t hesitate to contact HFA staff.
Super Committee Members
Senate Members
Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA), Co-chair
Sen. John Kerry (D-PA)
Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT)
Sen. Jon Kyl (R-AZ)
Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH)
House Members
Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), Co-chair
Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI)
Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI)
Rep. Chris Van Hollen (D-MD)
Rep. James Clyburn (D-SC)
Rep. Xavier Becerra (D-CA)
A section-by-section summary of the Budget Control Act 
New York Times: Q. and A. on the Debt Ceiling
Brookings Institution: Deficit Reduction and the New Congressional Committee: A Primer
Families USA: The Super Committee: Where They Stand on Medicaid, Medicare, and The Affordable Care Act
Coalition for Affordable Health Coverage:  Better Know Your Super Committee
National Womens Law Center: State-by-State Fact Sheets for Super-Committee Advocacy
Debt Budget Deal Time Table
A Who’s Who of the Debt Supercommittee
FAQ: ‘Super Committee’ Could Have Big Impact On Medicare, Medicaid Spending
The Budget Control Act of 2011: Implications for Medicare