The Text of the Budget Control Act Amendment

Tired of reading bullet points and opinions as to what's in the budget deal? Here's the Congressional link to the text of of the 74 page bill.

Medicare isn't mentioned until page 51. All it says is: [More...]

8)....When implementing the sequestration of direct spending pursuant to this paragraph, OMB shall follow the procedures specified in section 6 of the Statutory Pay-As-You-Go Act of 2010, the exemptions specified in section 255, and the special rules specified in section 256, except that the percentage reduction for the Medicare programs specified in section 256(d) shall not be more than 2 percent for a fiscal year.

9) ADJUSTMENT FOR MEDICARE.—If the percentage reduction for the Medicare programs would exceed 2 percent for a fiscal year in the absence of paragraph (8), OMB shall increase the reduction for all other discretionary appropriations and direct spending under paragraph (6) by a uniform percentage to a level sufficient to achieve the reduction required by paragraph (6) in the non-defense function.

When Congress can't use plain English to write a bill, and when even a law degree doesn't help in understanding it, it's not a good sign.

This bill is far too complicated to review and vote on in one day. I wonder how many in Congress understand the fine print as opposed to their party's talking points.

Pass in haste, repent at leisure. Didn't our liberal elected officials learn their lesson with the Patriot Act? Apparently not.

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    The two paragraph excerpt... (5.00 / 3) (#3)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:07:55 PM EST
    makes my head hurt, there's gotta be a better way to get the books in some kind of order...gotta be.

    But once again, the fog of confusion makes it easier to steal...reminds me of the fine print in a credit card agreement of something.

    "Balanced Budget Amendment" (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by vector on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:21:48 PM EST
    I see a requirement for a mandatory vote on a proposed "balanced budget amendment" to the U.S. Constitution.

    I see NO text for the proposed amendment.

    So, a vote is being mandated on something as important as a revision of the Constitution, WITHOUT bothering to include the actual wording of the proposed change?

    If this isn't insanity, I don't know what is.    

    And a vote is being mandated (none / 0) (#36)
    by Towanda on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:16:35 PM EST
    on only passage of an amendment, which will not make it an amendment, which requires ratification by the states, etc., so the trigger could be meaningless and never actually become law.

    I am confused about this BB amendment (none / 0) (#38)
    by caseyOR on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:26:20 PM EST
    vote. In one place I read that Congress must vote on the BB amendment. In another article I read that Armageddon is triggered unless Congress approves a BB amendment.

    While it seems so obviously insane that Congress is now obligated to vote in favor of a BB, this entire debt ceiling crisis has been insane. So, I don't know what is true.

    Can anybody help me here?


    I read (5.00 / 1) (#39)
    by CoralGables on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:31:35 PM EST
    that the only obligation is a vote. No need to pass it at all. Most likely the only purpose is to use someone's vote as 30 second election commercial fodder.

    I read the bill now at the link (none / 0) (#54)
    by Towanda on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 12:18:41 AM EST
    and thank heavens for the table of contents, so that I could go straight to the relevant part.

    As I read it, the vote only needs to be held (and in both Houses).

    So this is ridiculous political posturing that demeans the amendment purpose and process.  But then, I have high regard for the Founders who had wisdom and humility to foresee that they might not have figured out everything in the future of this land and included the ability for us to amend their work.  I certainly hope that they are not watching this.

    What the heck, let's write into bills now that major changes in the direction of this country will be triggered by sunspots, which actually may have more impact than such a meaningless vote.


    Is there any real reason (5.00 / 3) (#17)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 03:54:23 PM EST
    for inclusion of Cat Food Two other than to cut social security and Medicare?  Apparently, sharing refers to blame not sacrifice.   Medicaid will be cut without any such congressional gyrations since it is a welfare program.

    To kick things down the road (none / 0) (#37)
    by christinep on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:23:11 PM EST
    A number of people have been suggesting that as well. Even ol' Chuck Todd (NBC) suggests that the structure allows for both parties to preserve their positions (Dems on Social Security & Medicare, etc. & Repubs on Taxes) for the 2012 election...he said directly at the top of the news tonight that the matter will likely be decided by the next election since the committee most likely would not reach agreement since there are different incentives. 'Just listening to similar comments on PBS nightly newscast. Grijalva, the head of the Progressive Caucus, also stated that the issues are set to be the subject of the 2012 election.

    Thought Cat Food v2 had to (5.00 / 4) (#45)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:15:43 PM EST
    have their suggestions in place by Nov 23 and it had to be voted on by congress by Dec 23, 2011? And this is where Obama threw all the "entitlements" on the table. Yeah, he may not have to deal with his tax cuts or another debt ceiling debacle before the next election, and may also have managed to keep the cuts from actually hurting people until then (but can he keep the knowledge of where those cuts are going to be a secret?), but if Cat Food v2 is active and the vote is before the end of the year . . . I don't see how that's going to shore up votes for him . . . remember, it's NOT theater, Obama WANTS to cut "entitlements".

    The reason (none / 0) (#49)
    by christinep on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:57:48 PM EST
    is that the history of committees of this sort is to kick the can further...this is especially so if the committee members (appointed by their respective Congl leadership) represent their party's positions. While it may be that the Repubs have an incentive to make the committee phase work to avoid the automatic defense cuts contained in the trigger-automatic phase, the Dem members may have less compulsion to do so because Social Security & Medicaid & foodstamps (& other low-income programs) are expressly exempted from the trigger-automatic phase.

    The structure is interesting, but--as you point out--the time is short for reaching agreement by the end of the year.  Recall that the Simpson-Bowles group could not get near majority agreement.  That is why--as people look at this--the "aha" appears that the argument may well not mature until the 2012 race is formally underway.
    We will find that out soon enough.

    BTW, nystray, it is why I'm more optimistic than you: There is the surface fluff for those who must see the "dreaded" (or whatever) debt be reduced, and there is the interesting aspect of the structure and what that might suggest based upon legislative history. All I would ask, in fairness, is that you watch how it plays out.


    And when that argument matures . . . (5.00 / 1) (#53)
    by nycstray on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 12:08:18 AM EST
    The President is suddenly going to walk back his pressure for "entitlement" cuts, and better yet, everyone is gonna fall for it?

    There's also a risk as to who's on the special little committee, and they already have S/B as a starting point. Then there's the fast track issue . . . And yet again, keep in mind, THE PRESIDENT WANTS THIS. What part of that do you NOT understand?


    Positioning (none / 0) (#57)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 04:11:27 PM EST
    We hear differently...the President talks about minor structural reform in Medicare (providers, etc.) to assure that the large program is well-funded for years to come, etc. Nowhere has the President deviated from Democratic history as to Social Security. That people fear certain things or read into positioning statements about reasonableness & all that or that people emphasize different things...all part of the political process.

    At the very least, we know that Obama came to power as a good politician. No good politician will slip up as an election year fast approaches when it comes to their party's principal issues...it doesn't make sense.


    But there was no reason for any of this. (5.00 / 1) (#55)
    by mjames on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 10:20:00 AM EST
    Or, I should say, no reason in terms of a representative democracy. Which we clearly do not have.

    So, I think it only fair that, come the end of the year, you give an objective assessment of where the country is at. As I see it, since there was no need for any of this, the deal is already done. But, I'll wait for you to catch up, as I have done with many friends who now see the truth. That's the only way, really, with someone who doesn't want to acknowledge the depth of the betrayal by Obama and the Dems. (And, of course, if I'm wrong, I'll say it loud and clear.)

    What will be the turning point for you? When education has crumbled 100%? When unemployment (real unemployment) is at 30%? When millions more lose their homes through no fault of their own? When the FICA tax is permanently lifted? When the Bush tax cuts continue on? When we have three more wars underway? Or when someone you love loses his/her job and health insurance and can't find another job or afford the mandated insurance bill?

    I cannot offer a solution at this time, except to say I now vote socialist and I write regularly to Pelosi, Reid, Feinstein, and Boxer. And I talk to my friends and acquaintances. But we have not even fully defined the problem. That is the first step. To understand the problem. To get people to see that there is a problem. There is not one person I talk to, regardless of political affiliation, who disagrees that: (1) $16 trillion to the crooked banksters is obscene and (2) health care is no longer affordable.

    BTW, I do not find this "interesting." Nothing about this travesty is "interesting." I do not find watching how they decide who is the next to suffer "interesting."


    You & I may agree that "there was no need (none / 0) (#58)
    by christinep on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 04:17:51 PM EST
    for the situation that led to the imbroglio over the debt ceiling for so long. Even President Obama used the word "manufactured" in his statement today.  

    In the political sphere, perception is reality. Without going into the who-believed-what routine, we do know that years of loose talk about the meaning of government debt and deficit has led a majority (in every poll) of people in the past year or so to be frightened about the state of the deficit.  The Repubs have pushed that theme for 30 or so years; the Dems, IMO, never really countered with a digestible argument. It took hold, as we can see from the Tea Pots. And, the mythology became the perception became the reality. A smart politician--such as the President--would not be heard to deny what people believed in a representative Democracy. So, we've all been running-in-place to get through this "debt ceiling crisis>"  Life in politics.


    Or HCA....? (none / 0) (#1)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 01:58:42 PM EST
    Rememeber how many bragged / whined they hadn't read the 1400 page bill but voted on it anyways?

    whatever else you want to say about the HCA (none / 0) (#2)
    by CST on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:02:46 PM EST
    it was not "passed in haste"

    That battle went on forever.  If no one read the bill it's their own d@mn fault.


    Yep (none / 0) (#5)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:11:59 PM EST
    And that would be some Democrats who didn't read the HCA.  That's why I won't be surprised when some of them don't read this one and just take the president's word for what is good about this.

    Where's Elizabeth Warren (none / 0) (#4)
    by CST on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:10:12 PM EST
    when you need her.

    There should be a "politician protection agency" too, to keep them from having to pass bills they don't understand.  Or maybe a "voter protection agency".

    This is my favorite (none / 0) (#7)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:33:16 PM EST
    post of yours Jeralyn.  I tried to read what was important to me and I assumed that the reason why I could not understand it was because I didn't go to law school.  It is a relief to know that I'm not meant to be able to understand it....and nobody is.  If I don't understand it and nobody else does either, does that mean that nothing will be triggered and the whole bill is nothing but political cover in order to get the debt ceiling raised?

    We should be so fortunate! (5.00 / 1) (#8)
    by oculus on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:43:01 PM EST
    [Plus, yesterday I broke down and figured out what IANAL means!]

    You will have to be expert on this (none / 0) (#10)
    by Militarytracy on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:52:57 PM EST
    then, I don't have it in me to study this hard about something that makes me this furious.  That's sort of a copout isn't it?  You have to study what these goons are up to just to know how to fight back....sigh

    Yeah... (5.00 / 4) (#11)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 03:19:15 PM EST
    Oculus, when you're finished translating from legal-ese to English, please advise!

    I am especially curious to know if there is a martial law trigger if and when seniors get uppity over the Medicare cut trigger(s) that will go unrepealed.

    PS...I thought we were supposed to tone down the violent firearm rhetoric....so many triggers! I just hope we aren't left standing between the bullet and the target.


    Darlin' . . . (5.00 / 3) (#12)
    by nycstray on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 03:33:43 PM EST
    we are the target.

    Ya can't say that stray... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 03:49:15 PM EST
    you'll never make it in politics:)

    A balanced budget and financial stability is the target, we're just the collateral damage.


    well said (none / 0) (#23)
    by klassicheart on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:16:50 PM EST
    My reading of Section 105 (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 03:38:50 PM EST
    is that "trigger" refers to Roy Rogers horse and that for those who find that section to be curdling, it may, under Section 106-(b), be substituted, by a vote of the minority of the majority, with Buttermilk,  upon  authorization of Dale Evans.

    also, the part in one of (5.00 / 1) (#29)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:47:16 PM EST
    the extremely subordinate clauses making people who pay SS taxes spend 3 weeks yearly with scythes and pitchforks making haystacks for the aforementioned horses.

    Railroad employees don't have to... got their own pension plan...


    It shows how foolish... (none / 0) (#56)
    by sj on Tue Aug 02, 2011 at 01:04:22 PM EST
    ... those legislators are.  Arming the seniors with pitchforks and scythes that way.

    The bill will trigger cuts (I think:)... (5.00 / 3) (#9)
    by kdog on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 02:52:24 PM EST
    but nothing Congress can't untrigger with a new uncomprehendable bill...so yeah, I think you're right, the appearance of doing something about debt without actually doing something about debt....both brands give themselves a pat on the back for further delaying our eventual day of reckoning.

    So when defense cuts get triggered, they will be immediately untriggered.  When Medicare cuts get triggered otoh, who knows...I guess it depends on how close we are to an election.


    To: MT: You astutely recognize "cover" (none / 0) (#40)
    by christinep on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:34:02 PM EST
    Yes, this deal resolves the default...thats important.  Yes, the 70 or so House Crazies held America hostage in every respect of the term.  Yes, when you think it through (numbers & Crazies & all), you may well see that this made a little bit of lemonade out of lemons in allowing us to get through it & not having to deal with the total time-consuming "debt issue" full-face until after the election.

    I agree with the analysts who are starting to speak up today indicating that this really preserves the classic issues for both parties. As I said above, the Dems kepp the Social Security & Medicare issues while the Repubs whine about taxes. This school of thought believes--as do I--that history would suggest an impasse with phase 2 of the agreement so that the committee talks a bit but cannot agree on the major split between the parties. ( I even believe that this was built in to put the issue down the road...which, given the numbers, is the best we can get at this point. IMO.)

    What this all really means is--and I hate to say this (in view of the obvious pushback from some here)--but, looking at the logical outcomes of split committees in polarized situations--the elections of 2012 probably will give a "mandate" to the winner a lot larger than any number would suggest.  IOW, it isn't going to be the committee that decides...but, rather, the 2012 electorate.


    I agree with you, for once (none / 0) (#50)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:51:50 PM EST
    What I'd really, really like to know is what the current polling is, if any, in these Tea Party congressional districts.  The 2012 elections could save the day, or they could royally cook our collective gooses.

    Jay Newton-Small (none / 0) (#14)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 03:40:05 PM EST
    thinks deem and pass re: the 2012 budget is in here.  Is that true?  I don't know what language to look for.

    It would be nice (5.00 / 1) (#15)
    by jbindc on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 03:42:13 PM EST
    If they could pass the 2011 budget first.

    Ok (none / 0) (#21)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:09:17 PM EST
    The bill passes the 2012 statutory requirement that Congress agree to a budget resolution. It does not, I repeat, IT DOES NOT, "deem and pass" the appropriations bills that actually allow the government to operate.

    I know some dummy at Time Magazine put that out there, but its just false. Budget bills only set the parameters of spending. Only spending bills actually appropriate money.

    And I'm quite sure the House leadership, fresh off a big victory, is going to have plenty to say about that bill. With the government as a hostage.

    from brooklynbadboy.  Government shutdown is not necessarily avoided by this bill.


    Haha! (none / 0) (#35)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 06:47:22 PM EST
    I didn't write that, but I do agree with it.  The author of this article is Jay Newton-Small.  A Congressional reporter.  An elaboration of brooklynbadboy's post is here.

    Bad as Joe Klein is (none / 0) (#51)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:53:08 PM EST
    he looks like a Pulitzer winner in comparison to the entirely incompetent Jay Newton-Small, who shouldn't have a job at a community shopper tabloid, never mind a major post at a major newsweekly.

    It could mean a number of things (none / 0) (#41)
    by christinep on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:39:43 PM EST
    My husband pointed out that it may be "deem & pass" the resolution; while I'm thinking it could be "deem & pass" the overall spending authorization. (It does not seem to be the actual appropriations...but, that would fall out from the authorization.  And, the allocation from that...which would show where the programmatic cuts really would be.)

    I'm guessing we will find out soon.  BTW, that Newton-Small article is one of the more sophisticated ones I've seen (in my narrow opinion.) We need to talk real numbers, and she attempts to start down that path.


    I was hoping (none / 0) (#43)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:58:11 PM EST
    it would help us avoid a hellish similar battle in the fall.  Unfortunately it doesn't seem like "deem and pass" is going to manage that feat.  No doubt we will see.

    Yglesias (none / 0) (#44)
    by lilburro on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:13:28 PM EST
    discusses what "deem and pass" applies to and what it doesn't.  ThinkProgress.

    Except that she (none / 0) (#52)
    by gyrfalcon on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 11:54:40 PM EST
    has a long and distinguished history of getting almost everything wrong.  Base your understanding on her writing at your peril.

    learning their lesson (none / 0) (#18)
    by The Addams Family on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:00:59 PM EST
    Pass in haste, repent at leisure. Didn't our liberal elected officials learn their lesson with the Patriot Act?

    they certainly did - the lesson was "go along to get along" & i don't recall too many of them repenting

    Florida style votes (none / 0) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:01:34 PM EST
    Current word from their offices...

    Debbie Wasserman Schultz is a Yes
    Marco Rubio is a No
    Bill Nelson is a Yes

    In GOP Presidential circles:

    Huntsman is in favor (no vote)
    Everyone else  Bachmann, Palin, Pawlenty, Romney, Perry, etc. is against whether they have a vote or not

    Florida is a now a failed state (5.00 / 1) (#46)
    by Madeline on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:32:45 PM EST
    Scott just turned down millions in any Federal funds.  He has such contempt for the Federal government that not one penny will cross the state line. Millions of Floridians will be subject to dismantling, cutting, privatizing  because Scott hates the Federal Government. Effected are education, insurance, infrastructure, medical federal funds offered and due to the state.

    Even though this immature, incompetent and criminal discontent has 27% approval rating, he stands resolute in these actions. Meet Mr. Tea Party of Florida. Burn down the state to make a point of his disgust with the Federal Government even though the state does not rank above 4th in bankruptcies, foreclosures, lack of insurance, and education. In addition, he just signed the pro life bill. Yes.  Pregnant? Get that sonogram.

    What a disgusting man.


    On a good note (none / 0) (#48)
    by CoralGables on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 10:11:03 PM EST
    All the Dems will have to do is have a candidate with a heartbeat and Scott should be done in one term.

    If it doesn't pass, (none / 0) (#20)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:09:02 PM EST
    Plouffe was saying last night that the president wouldn't use the 14th Amendment, either.

    In other words, useful tools in the toolbox won't be used because O will subcontract to some minority positions.

    Geez. Where did he study? I know Harvard Law, but undergrad were Occidental and Columbia, correct?

    Just making a list of where I WON'T allow my child to apply. Stanford, Chicago, wherever Obama went, Liberty, and any school affiliated in any way with Newt Gingritch.

    Schools Little Jeff should not attend. (5.00 / 1) (#30)
    by caseyOR on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:48:06 PM EST
    If your goal, Jeff, is to prevent your son turning into a Wall Street/GOP toadie, and you fear the seeds of such are planted while one is in college, here is the list of schools to avoid (based on Obama' academic affiliations):

    Occidental, Columbia, Harvard, U. of Chicago ( he did not attend as a student, but he taught here. so, really beware.).

    Obama did not attend Liberty, but that one goes without saying. Stanford is still a safe choice, although its close relationship with Condie Rice makes me suspicious.

    Considering some of the characters who have gradated from Harvard Law (John Roberts, for example), I tend to think it is maybe not such a great place to send our impressionable young


    in minor defense of those schools (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by CST on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 05:01:05 PM EST
    It's entirely possible to graduate from any university and still be an @sshole, or completely incompetent.  It's just that some schools tend to graduate more powerfull @ssholes than others.  So the rest of us have to deal with their $hit.

    Although it's true that "Ivy-league @sshole" is different from "run of the mill @sshole" - let's not sell the "run of the mill @ssholes" short.  Afterall, the House seems to be comprised of a lot of "run of the mill @ssholes".  And they can also bring the country to it's knees.

    I mean, Michelle Bachman went to William & Mary's.  So did Jon Stewart.  FDR went to Colombia, and so did Ginsburg.  They managed to survive.  And where would the world be today without Microsoft and Facebook :P?  I think the real key is to be a Harvard dropout.  


    Bachmann also attended Oral Roberts. (none / 0) (#47)
    by Madeline on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 09:38:14 PM EST
    this is the woman who said: Barack Obama "isn't well-schooled and prepared to be President of the United States."

    That's an interesting observation, coming from a graduate of a law school that once lost its American Bar Association accreditation.


    Plouffe and Carney have been all over the airwaves (none / 0) (#26)
    by shoephone on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:38:18 PM EST
    saying that for the past week. Who knows what they really mean? Even a guy in my congressman's DC office told me the 14th doesn't give legal permission to fully keep the government running, but he and I both admitted to not being constitutional scholars... And I did hear some talking heads, including Jared Bernstein (Biden's guy), on NPR this morning, saying that invoking the 14th only gets us so far -- it covers debt obligations for a short time, but doesn't allow the government to cut checks to vets or SS recipients.

    At least, that's what I thought I heard. If anyone else has more/better info, please post it.


    so SS (none / 0) (#28)
    by jeffinalabama on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:45:17 PM EST
    and veteran benefits aren't considered debts...

    I though pensions were specifically mentioned in the amendment, but possibly only civil war pensions.


    Chief Justice Charles Hughes (none / 0) (#34)
    by KeysDan on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 06:40:01 PM EST
    stated in Perry v US (1935) that (the relevant provision) was derived from the civil war circumstances  however, it was broader in scope.  Of course, Alexander Hamilton, as Sec of Treasury, was adamant about living up to our pledge for assurances of payment.  If Harold Koh can come up with that Libya opinion, he surely could employ these ideas into a cogent argument.  If it was desired.

    It did pass, of course (none / 0) (#42)
    by christinep on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 07:42:53 PM EST
    but, cheap shot here.  There are lots of downsides to the 14th Amendment argument...not the least of which is the separation & overreaching arguments, etc. (BTW, I would have supported its usage if we were headed over the falls.  And, as I've said elsewhere, we needed a Superman rescue.)  But, as it was, Obama's postion was probably in accord with most legal scholars.

    They want it all, Jeralyn (none / 0) (#22)
    by mjames on Mon Aug 01, 2011 at 04:14:30 PM EST
    They all want it all. This is just a show. They don't need to read the fine print, because they're all just fine with it.

    Site Violator! (none / 0) (#60)
    by Zorba on Wed Nov 16, 2011 at 08:51:20 PM EST