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(Reuters) – Lawmakers abandoned their high-profile effort to rein in the country’s ballooning debt on Monday in a sign that Washington likely will not be able to resolve a dispute over taxes and spending until 2013.
The admission of defeat by Republicans and Democrats on a 12-member congressional “super committee” is likely to cement perceptions among voters and investors that politicians are too divided to tackle trillion-dollar budget deficits and a national debt that now is roughly equal to the U.S. economy.
“Despite our inability to bridge the committee’s significant differences, we end this process united in our belief that the nation’s fiscal crisis must be addressed and that we cannot leave it for the next generation to solve,” Republican Representative Jeb Hensarling and Democratic Senator Patty Murray said in a joint statement.
But lawmakers will be less willing to compromise as they shift their attention to the November 2012 presidential and congressional elections.
The finger-pointing began within minutes of the announcement.
President Barack Obama said at the White House that Republicans had scuttled the talks by refusing to consider tax hikes on the wealthy.
“They simply will not budge from that negotiating position and so far that refusal has been the main stumbling block that has prevented Congress from reaching an agreement to further reduce the deficit,” Obama said at the White House. (Full Story)