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Debt supercommittee admits failure to reach deal

Supercommittee members, Senate Minority Leader Jon Kyl of Ariz., left, and Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., right, greet each other on Capitol Hill in Washington, Monday, Nov. 21, 2011, as the deficit reduction panel's deadline approaches with little expectation for success. (J. Scott Applewhite)

November 21, 2011 12:26:55 AM PST
A congressional supercommittee that was assigned to find at least $1.2 trillion in budget cuts admitted on Monday that they failed to reach a deal.

The deadline came and went, and there was no deal made. Members of the panel spent Sunday blaming each other for the impasse on television talk shows.

"There is one sticking divide. And that's the issue of what I call shared sacrifice," said panel co-chair Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., on CNN's "State of the Union."

The panel, formed during the summer crisis over raising the government's borrowing limit, never came close to bridging a fundamental divide over how much to raise taxes to address a budget deficit that forced the government to borrow 36 cents of every dollar it spent last year.

"If you look at the Democrats' position it was `We have to raise taxes. We have to pass this jobs bill, which is another almost half-trillion dollars. And we're not excited about entitlement reform,' " said Republican Jon Kyl of Arizona on NBC's "Meet the Press."

The failure means automatic across-the-board cuts go into effect in 2013, including cuts to defense, Medicaid and Medicare. This action, called a "sequester," would also generate $169 billion in savings from lower interest costs on the national debt.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.