Bipartisan Debt Deal of 2011: Everything you need to know

by Spencer Michael · August 1, 2011

    Finally, a deal has been struck, ahead of the deadline of August 2. This has been one of the nastiest squabbles between Democrats and Republicans, but boy, we're glad it's almost over with.

    Here is the official fact sheet on the deal, struck by leaders from both parties, on

    Key facts:

    10-year commitment to cut $1 trillion total in spending

    Includes cutting $350 billion from defense over those 10 years

    A new committee, made up of Republicans and Democrats, in charge of generating an additional $1.5 trillion (by cutting programs and increasing taxes)

    Commitment to protect Social Security, Medicare, low-income programs, and Pell Grants (which helps 9 million students pay for college tuition)

    But here's the kicker:

    Debt limit increased by at least $2.1 trillion, or, as much as necessary to last until 1/1/2013

    The Bush tax cuts to the wealthy expire on 1/1/2013, a date extended by Obama.

    What this means is, the 2012 election is going to be extremely important. If a Republican wins the election, it means those tax cuts will be extended, and it's likely there will be an increase in spending on defense. If Obama wins re-election, he will not extend those tax cuts. "[This] will force balanced deficit would enable the President to use his veto pen to ensure nearly $1 trillion in additional deficit reduction by not extending the high-income tax cuts," as written in that White House press release.

    The general reaction from Republicans on this deal is they're happy with it overall, but not with the cuts in defense spending. The Democrats are not pleased with the deal, because programs are getting cut and taxes are staying the same, but they have to fold to Republicans to avoid a default. The idea of being over $16 trillion in debt makes us queasy, but we're hoping our leaders will get it together and reduce that number soon.

    Looking ahead: According to the Washington Post, Obama's re-election campaign raised $35 million more in the last quarter than all of the Republican candidates combined.

    Official White House Photo by David Lienemann