Congressional debt reduction panel kicks off work



WASHINGTON (AP) — The special congressional debt reduction supercommittee is opening its first meeting with promises to work together to slash the deficit and lift the sluggish economy.

The six Republicans and six Democrats met Thursday stressing the importance of compromise. It was a sharp contrast to the bitter rhetoric of the summer’s partisan brawl over raising the federal debt limit. That ended with a hard-fought deal between President Barack Obama and lawmakers that created the supercommittee.

The panel is charged with finding, by Thanksgiving, $1.5 trillion in savings over the next decade. Democrats want a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. Republicans insist that entitlement programs such as Social Security and Medicare should be part of any deficit-cutting plan.