When the supercommittee meets for the first time, so, too, will Representative Hensarling and Senator Murray.

HandshakeThe task of leading a congressional search for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction is complicated by a little-known oddity: The two Capitol Hill veterans – Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) – have never met each other. Not in the month since they were tapped to lead the vaunted “supercommittee,” nor in the preceding nine years that they jointly served in Congress, aides to both lawmakers say.

The relationship they forge will be key to the panel’s chances for success.

“It’s all in their hands, and it’s how they set the tone,” said Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.).

Isakson said it would be important for both Murray and Hensarling to set a tone for the committee of putting partisanship aside. “If either one or both don’t, it’s going to be very difficult for the committee,” he said.

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Source: Russell Berman | The Hill