The joint committee was part of a deal reached by House Republicans, Senate Democrats and the White House to raise the debt ceiling. The agreement included $917 billion in spending cuts over 10 years, and created the panel to find $1.5 trillion in additional deficit reduction by mid-November. Any bill that comes out of the committee would be voted on the House and Senate without amendment by about Christmas.
If they fail to reach agreement, a harsh $1.2 trillion automatic spending cut would be triggered. Van Hollen called it a “sword of Damocles hanging” over the committee and said that he believes it will motivate Members to reach a compromise. The panel can avoid the automatic cuts if it can agree on at least $1.2 trillion in savings.
Terri Henderson, 6, center, whose mother is El Salvador, attends a rally with members of Congress at Union Station's Columbus Circle to announce the Restore Opportunity, Strengthen, and Improve the Economy (ROSIE) Act on July 29, 2014. The legislation provides incentives for government contractors to pay a living wage and other benefits that would help low-income workers.