Kerry: Italy’s woes put pressure on supercommittee

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Fears about Italys financial health drove investors to flee the nations bonds Wednesday, leaving the nation to grapple with skyrocketing interest rates. In response to the struggles, Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi announced he would resign after the nation adopted an austerity package, making him the second head of state to be brought down by the European debt crisis, after Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou stepped down that same day.

Meanwhile, a dozen lawmakers in Congress are grappling with their own efforts to agree on $1.2 trillion in deficit cuts by Nov. 23. Republicans and Democrats on the panel continue to meet regularly, but are still struggling to bridge fundamental gaps on such matters as tax revenues and entitlement spending.

Im not giving up hope. And I hope my Democratic colleagues aren’t giving up hope until midnight on the 23rd, Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-Texas) said Thursday. He is co-chairman of the supercommittee with Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.).

— Ben Geman contributed to this report.