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Congressional debt reduction panel kicks off work

•  Recent Cases     updated  2011/09/07 09:19


Republicans and Democrats on the special supercommittee warned of a financial crisis threatening future generations as the congressional debt reduction panel kicked off its work Thursday with an imperative to slash the deficit and lift the sluggish economy.

In a series of speeches, the six Republicans and six Democrats stressed the importance of compromise, shrugging off the bitter rhetoric of the summer's partisan brawl over raising the federal debt limit. That fight ended with a hard-fought deal between President Barack Obama and lawmakers that created the supercommittee.

"I approach our task with a profound sense of urgency, high hopes and realistic expectations," said Rep. Jeb Hensarling, a panel co-chair. "Our task to achieve $1.5 trillion of bipartisan deficit reduction will not be easy but it is essential."

The Texas Republican said he will not "sit idly by and watch the American dream disappear for my 9-year-old daughter and my 7-year-old son."

Members of the committee insisted that all elements of the federal budget will be part of any final product. Democrats want a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases while Republicans say entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare should be in any deficit-cutting plan.



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