Stalemated debt-reduction panel members cast blame

By ANDREW TAYLOR | November 17, 2011 | 3:10 AM EST

WASHINGTON (AP) — A congressional debt-reduction supercommittee is increasingly gripped by stalemate and Republicans and Democrats on the panel now seem to be devoting more time to assigning blame than working through their differences.

Despite small steps in recent weeks toward addressing core solutions to the nation's intractable deficit problem, such as new taxes and curbs on the growth of government benefit programs, both sides say further progress has come to a halt.

Less than a week remains before a Thanksgiving deadline for the panel to vote on a plan cutting deficits by at least $1.2 trillion. Whatever remaining hope there was appears to have washed away Wednesday after both Democrats and Republicans on the 12-member panel traded rhetorical salvos about whether the other side was negotiating in good faith.