The politics for both parties — and the leaders themselves — are very delicate.

American_ClockWith time running out, House and Senate leaders are inserting themselves more into behind-the-scenes deficit talks, exchanging proposals and trying to help the so-called supercommittee avert the threat of a $1.2 trillion across-the board spending cut if no agreement is reached.

But the level of activity goes well beyond what has been reported to date with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid taking the lead in reaching out to Speaker John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a series of recent meetings. Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.), the two co-chairs of the panel, participated in the closely guarded discussions last week, and Boehner hosted a meeting in his office with both House and Senate Republicans on the 12-member panel.

The significance is two part. First, with the Nov. 23 deadline less than a month away, the chances of failure are very real, something the leadership can no longer avoid. Second, for Senate Democrats especially, there is a growing concern that the GOP leaders must get more involved since their appointees are hesitant to make any deal without clearance from above.

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Source: David Rogers |POLITICO