New York (CNNMoney.com) - Starting next month, lawmakers will argue until they are hoarse over what to do about various spending bills and the Dec. 31 expiration of the Bush tax cuts.
But make no mistake: The fevered debates will take place in a vacuum.
That's because lawmakers have yet to seriously address how to rein in the country's long-term debt. And that broader debate will involve significant policy changes: A likely overhaul of the federal tax code and a reduction in spending across the board.
Policymakers have been mostly mum on the issue. By December, however, they will have a harder time ignoring the matter, since they will have in hand reports from the Bipartisan Policy Center's Debt Reduction Task Force and President Obama's fiscal reform commission.