Joint Committees of Congress

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction


The Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction was established in the  Budget Control Act of 2011 (Pub. L. 112-25) on August 2, 2011. The committee’s purpose was to write legislation that would decrease the deficit by enough to offset the increase in the debt limit required at the time of its creation. The committee bill was given expedited procedures to provide for a vote by the Congress, without amendment. The BCA target was to reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the 10 years and hence avoid sequestration procedures that would be triggered if the target was not met.

The committee finalized its operations on November 21, 2011 without being able to produce a bill that could be supported by a majority of its members. The committee issued the following statement:  “After months of hard work and intense deliberations, we have come to the conclusion today that it will not be possible to make any bipartisan agreement available to the public before the committee’s deadline.” 

According to the Senate historian, Donald A. Ritchie: “There are not many exact parallels” to the new committee. Congress has had such committees but with the notable exception of the Joint Committee on Atomic Energy (1946 to 1977), most did not have the power to report legislation.

Legislative Text (Budget Control Act of 2011)

Title IV of the Budget Control Act of 2011 (Pub. L. 112-25) set forth the specifics for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction. Section 302 (BCA) set forth the failsafe mechanism by which a sequestration procedure is set in motion if the Joint Committee, established under Title IV, did not achieve the enactment of the required deficit reduction bill. The Joint Committee was not successful.


Sec. 302. Enforcement of budget goal.


Sec. 401. Establishment of Joint Select Committee.

Sec. 402. Expedited consideration of joint committee recommendations.

Sec. 403. Funding.

Sec. 404. Rulemaking.

Joint Study Committee on Budget Control (1972-1973)

Joint Select Committee on Budget and Appropriations Process Reform

Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction: Definition of Committee Bill



§025. History of Congressional Budgeting


§027. Joint Committee on Taxation