Laura Litvan and Kathleen Hunter
November 20, 2011

Republican and Democratic lawmakers on the deficit-cutting supercommittee said they’re still aiming for a last-ditch agreement even as one of the panel’s leaders voiced doubts about an accord by a Nov. 23 deadline.

The supercommittee faces a “daunting challenge” as its 12 members seek to bridge gulfs over taxes and spending, Representative Jeb Hensarling of Texas, the Republican co- chairman, said today. Time is running out for a plan to carve at least $1.2 trillion out of the federal budget, he said.

The panel has been deadlocked over income-tax increases, with Democrats seeking tax increases on high earners while Republicans push for extending tax cuts enacted under President George W. Bush. Another sticking point is Republican calls for cuts, over Democrats’ opposition, in entitlement programs such as Medicare.

‘Nobody wants to give up hope,’’ Hensarling said on the “Fox News Sunday” program. “Reality is, to some extent, starting to overtake hope.”

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