14 Nov 2011

Deadline approaches on deficit negotiations

9:14 am on 14 November 2011

Talks designed to cut the US deficit have reached a "difficult point", but members of a special super-committee say a deal is still possible.

"The clock is running out, but it hasn't run out yet," Republican Patrick Toomey told Fox News.

Democrat James Clyburn said he was hopeful a deal could be struck.

The BBC reports the committee has to find $US1.5 trillion in savings over 10 years.

But its members are split on party lines. They face a deadline of 23 November.

The United States is more than $US14 trillion in debt and has an annual budget deficit of more than $US1.4 trillion.

The bipastisan committee was set up in August. Its plan is to be submitted to both houses of Congress for an up-or-down vote by the end of the year.

If the committee fails to issue a recommendation, a series of big spending cuts will automatically occur.