The White House has sternly pushed a polarised congressional "supercommittee" to forge a deal to cut USD 1.2 trillion from government deficits over 10 years, with just days to strike the bargain.
The seemingly deadlocked 12-member panel had till Monday to make public at least a tentative plan and till Wednesday to approve it or risk triggering painful automatic cuts shared between some social programs and military spending.
"We are painfully, painfully aware of the deadline that is staring us in the face," Representative Jeb Hensarling, the co-chair of the panel, told reporters yesterday after a closed-door meeting with fellow committee Republicans.
The White House sharply rebuffed calls from some Republicans for President Barack Obama, who was wrapping up a trip to Asia, to step in to try to break a partisan logjam likely to shape the campaign to the November 2012 elections.
"Avoiding accountability and kicking the can down the road is how Washington got into this deficit problem in the first place, so Congress needs to do its job here and make the kind of tough choices to live within its means that American families make every day," said spokeswoman Amy Brundage.
Hensarling said the committee would meet through the weekend if necessary to "try to find sufficient common ground" on a solution to "simultaneously address both our nation's jobs crisis and the debt crisis."
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Updated Date: Nov 19, 2011 08:47:09 IST