WASHINGTON (AP) — Members of Congress’ debt reduction “supercommittee” are meeting privately in the Capitol to look for ways to reduce government red ink.

“It’s our first get-together, talking among ourselves,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, D-Mont., said as he entered the meeting.

The 12-member panel, comprised of six Democrats and six Republicans, has held two public meetings. It has approved its rules of operation and heard expert testimony on the federal budget’s gloomy outlook if action isn’t taken to control the government’s accumulated $14 trillion in debt.

The supercommittee has until Thanksgiving to approve $1.5 trillion in 10-year budget savings, either spending cuts, tax increases or both. If Congress doesn’t approve at least $1.2 trillion in debt reduction by Christmas, automatic spending cuts will be triggered, affecting hundreds of government programs.

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