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House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer of Maryland, right, answers questions after a news conference on Capitol Hill in Washington on Wednesday. Huddling behind him, from left are, Rep. Tim Walz, D-Minn., Sen. Sen. Kent Conrad, D-N.D, and Sen. Mark Warner, D-Va. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Democrats, Republicans far apart on supercommittee deficit deal

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WASHINGTON (AP) -- As the nation's debt soared past $15 trillion, congressional Republicans and Democrats approached stalemate Wednesday in a year-long assault on federal deficits, stymied still by politically charged disagreements over taxes and the future of enormously expensive government benefit programs.

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