Supercommittee ‘Painfully Aware’ of Nov. 23 Deadline, Set to Work Through Weekend

Nov 18, 2011 1:23pm

ABC News’ John R. Parkinson and Sunlen Miller report:

The Republican co-chair of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reductions says that Democrat and GOP members continue to negotiate and “talk about new ideas” as the supercommittee makes the final sprint to next Wednesday’s deadline. 

Rep. Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, said that “If an agreement is not reached today, members of the Joint Select Committee, Democrats and Republicans, will meet through the weekend.”

“We are painfully, painfully aware of  the deadline that is staring us in the face,” Hensarling said at a hastily arranged press conference after Republican members met earlier this morning. “We have 12 good people who have worked hard since this committee has been created to find sufficient common ground for an agreement that will simultaneously address both our nation’s jobs crisis and debt crisis, and clearly, when we have something more to report we will report.”

So far today, there has been a fury of meetings and activity surrounding the negotiations.

This morning, the three House Democrats on the panel – Reps. Chris Van Hollen, James Clyburn and Xavier Becerra – provided the House Democratic Caucus with an update on the talks.

Van Hollen, D-Md., said that he told his Democratic colleagues that the committee is “still making every effort to try to reach an agreement that is balanced.”

“[Balanced] meaning that there [are] tough cuts but also revenues for closing corporate tax loopholes, asking folks at the very top to pay a little more and that we’re still focused on trying to do something about jobs,” Van Hollen said. “We should leave no stone unturned.”

Sen. John Kerry is currently hosting a bipartisan meeting this afternoon in the Capitol with Rep. Chris Van Hollen, Sens. Max Baucus, D-Mont., Rob Portman, R-Ohio, Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa. Democratic co-chair Sen. Patty Murray was the only Senate member of the supercommittee not in attendance.

“We’re going to do whatever it takes to get an agreement,” Baucus told reporters as he headed into the meeting. “[There's] lots of different meetings. It’s whatever works.”

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