The bipartisan, bicameral debt panel created by the recent budget agreement will held its first meeting on Thursday, Sept. 8. The first public hearing will be Sept. 13.

As part of the recent debt deal, the panel must develop and pass by the end of November at least $1.5 trillion in federal spending cuts over 10 years. Failure to do so would trigger a series of across-the-board cuts. Medicaid would be exempt from those cuts, and Medicare is protected from deep spending cuts. However, the deficit panel is not bound by those stipulations.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), co-chairs of the panel, said the first meeting will include opening statements by committee members and consideration of proposed panel rules.  Deadlines for the panel over the next few months include:

  • Oct. 14: House and Senate committees must finish submitting recommendations to the panel.
  • Nov. 23: The panel must vote on a plan to cut $1.5 trillion from the deficit.
  • Dec. 2: The panel must submit legislative language for its plan to the president and Congress.
  • Dec. 23: The deadline for when Congress must pass the panel’s plan.
  • Jan. 15, 2012: The date on which the $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts take effect, if the panel’s suggestions have not been enacted.