WASHINGTON - Six members of a US congressional "super committee" have struck out on their own in a new effort to come up with a plan to slash America's huge deficits before a Nov. 23 deadline.
The three Republicans and three Democrats are looking at a deficit-reduction deal of between $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion, congressional aides told Reuters on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.
Despite widespread calls for the 12-member super committee to reach a multi-trillion dollar "grand bargain" to fix the country's fiscal mess, the six lawmakers are seeking a smaller deal because they recognize the differences between both sides over taxes and spending are too wide.
If the committee fails to reach a deal before the deadline next month, $1.2 trillion in automatic spending cuts will be triggered across US government agencies, beginning in 2013. Aides stressed that the six lawmakers are still in talks with the full super committee and have not splintered off. Instead, they are making an internal effort to try to broker a bipartisan deal.
Significantly, at least two Republican members of the smaller group are willing to consider revenue increases as part of a deficit-reduction plan, one of the congressional aides and a source with direct knowledge of the talks said.