The 12 members of the deficit Super Committee have been so tight lipped about their negotiations, that most of the clues about their progress come from Congressional colleagues -- most of whom are also in the dark about specifics.
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At his weekly Capitol briefing Tuesday, House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-MD) had a hard time pegging the panel's chances for reaching an agreement to achieve trillions of dollars in deficit reduction. But he insisted that if the panel failed to achieve significant savings, Congress will have to keep chipping away.
"People ask me, 'Are you optimistic?' I say, 'Look, I'm not optimistic -- I'm hopeful,'" Hoyer said. "I hope, because I think it's absolutely essential that we do so, that we succeed. Producing a product that is a big deal, not a small deal -- if we do a small deal, we'll have to revisit that."