Baucus made clear that the talks frayed over Democrats' insistence that tax increases of some sort be part of the final deal.
"The largest deficit reduction measures in the post-World War II era both had significant revenue increases. About one-half the total amount of deficit reduction in each bill," Baucus said. "I think we can raise revenues and have a positive economic outcome. Revenue increases in the 90s gave us 23 million new jobs. The longest economic expansion in U.S. history and a balanced budget."
After the hearing, reporters caught up with Baucus, who didn't sound too optimistic.
"I just hope we continue meeting and find other ways to skin this cat by meeting maybe some way other than we have been meeting," Baucus said. "I don't know. We just have to keep working."