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Pace of U.S. debt talks worries some

June 21, 2011 at 7:56 AM

WASHINGTON, June 21 (UPI) -- U.S. lawmakers are expressing concern about the pace of debt-reduction negotiations between congressional leaders and the White House, observers said.

Many are wondering whether negotiators will be able to reach a bipartisan compromise to slice more than $2 trillion from the budget in the next 10 years by the Aug. 2 deadline, The Washington Post reported Monday.

"There's a large degree of apprehension," said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., "This is a seminal moment where we can do something great for the country. But there's apprehension about it because of the pace at which it's going and the level of detail."

Vice President Joe Biden is stepping up talks this week with six lawmakers from both parties in hopes of presenting a plan to President Obama and Congress by July 4.

Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., a freshman member of the Senate Budget Committee, said he's talked to colleagues who have confidence "someone else is working things out."

Coons is working on a mechanism for enforcing a multi-year deal to cut spending.

He said his plan would set annual targets for savings and trigger both tax hikes and cuts to entitlement programs if those targets are not met.

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