The Washington Times - November 18, 2011, 12:09PM

The Republican co-chairman of the congressional debt-reduction committee said Friday morning the panel hasn’t reached an deal but is prepared to work through the weekend.

Rep. Jeb Hensarling of Texas said the dozen-member bipartisan “supercommittee” met in the morning, as well as Thursday night, but couldn’t hammer out a compromise.

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“We are painfully, painfully aware of the deadline that is staring us in the face,” Mr. Hensarling told a gathering of reporters outside the House Republican Conference office at the Capitol. “We have 12 good people who have worked hard since this committee has been created to try to find sufficient, common ground for an agreement that will simultaneously address both our nation’s job crisis and the debt crisis.”

Mr. Hensarling, who called the impromptu media event, added that “when we have some things more to report, we will report.” Stone-faced, he then walked back into his office without taking questions.

The supercommittee has until Wednesday to vote on a plan to lower the federal budget deficit by $1.5 trillion. But because the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office by law must have an analysis of the proposal ready 48 hours beforehand, the panel’s actual deadline for a deal is Monday.

Failure to reach a compromise would trigger $1.2 trillion across-the-board spending cuts, a scenario many lawmaker hope to avoid because half of the cuts would be at the Pentagon.