Congress returns from its summer recess and the joint select committee charged with reducing the deficit also begins its work in earnest this week. With talk of the deficit dominating headlines, here's a look at key dates for the committee.
Sept. 8: The committee holds its first organizational meeting; on the agenda will be setting the rules.
Sept. 13: First public hearing, which will include testimony on "The History and Drivers of Our Nation's Debt and Its Threats" from Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf.
Sept. 22: Deadline for Congress to consider a resolution of disapproval for first $900 billion tranche of debt limit increase.
Oct. 1-Dec. 31: Timeframe in which both houses of Congress must vote on a Balanced Budget Amendment.
Oct. 14: House and Senate committees must submit recommendations to the committee by this date.
Nov. 23: Deadline for the committee to vote on a plan with $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction.
Dec. 2: Deadline for the committee to submit report and legislative language to the president and Congress.
Dec. 23: Deadline for both houses to vote on the committee bill.
Jan. 15, 2012: Date that the "trigger" leading to $1.2 trillion of future spending cuts goes into effect, if the committee's legislation has not been enacted.
February 2012: Approximate time when the first $900 billion of debt ceiling increase runs out.
February/March 2012: During this period, 15 days after the president uses his authority in the bill to increase the debt ceiling a second time, is the deadline for Congress to consider a resolution of disapproval for the second tranche ($1.2-$1.5 trillion) of debt limit increase.
Fall/Winter 2012: The additional $2.1-$2.4 trillion of borrowing authority from this law runs out.
Jan. 2, 2013: OMB orders sequestrations for defense and non-defense categories of spending necessary to meet spending cuts required by the "trigger."