By Erik Wasson - 11/21/11 06:46 PM EST
That, in turn, is supposed to trigger $1.2 trillion in automatic cuts, including at least $500 billion in spending cuts to national security programs. Those cuts wouldn't go into effect until 2013, and lawmakers have openly called to simply cancel them.
President Obama has said Congress should not “shirk” its responsibility and should allow the cuts to go forward, but Republicans in particular have said the cuts would be devastating to the Pentagon.
Baucus offered his comments as he entered a meeting with other supercommittee members.
The Finance chairman said “there’s always hope” that a deal can be reached but acknowledged the special panel’s work has been “difficult from the start.”