Various congressional staffers have released details of the debt-ceiling agreement reached by the White House and congressional Republicans, which are outlined below:
The agreement foresees a $900 billion debt-ceiling increase, but in two phases. The first is an automatic $400 billion increase in the debt ceiling, which should last about two months. Another $500 billion increase could only be blocked by a congressional resolution of disapproval.
If the caps are exceeded, the difference must be made up through defense spending and Social Security, Medicaid and other benefit programs.
Another $1.5 trillion in cuts over ten years could take place by the end of this year, if agreed by a joint House-Senate committee. Leaders from both parties will need to appoint members to this 12-person body.
If $1.5 trillion in cuts are found, the debt ceiling can be increased another $1.5 trillion. If the cuts are between $1.2 and $1.5 trillion, a matching increase in the debt ceiling would occur. But if the cuts are anything under $1.2 trillion, the debt-ceiling increase would be $1.2 trillion, and the government would be forced to cut $1.2 trillion in spending at a minimum. Each of these possible increases would be subject to congressional disapproval.
Unlike the House-passed bill, congressional passage of a balanced budget amendment to the Constitution is not required to allow this second-round increase in the debt ceiling.