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Protesters greet ‘supercommittee’

WASHINGTON – The 12 members of the congressional supercommittee charged with reducing the deficit faced challenges from protesters during their first meeting Thursday.

In the audience were three protesters from Code Pink, a group that wants higher taxes on the rich. True to their name, they were clad in pink, including one in a long formal gown and another in a tuxedo and top hat emblazoned “Daddy Warbucks.” They carried pink signs demanding that the committee “Tax the Rich”, which they relinquished when Co-Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, asked them to observe the rule against signs.

Once the signs were removed, all members of the supercommittee got a chance to make opening comments, including Co-Chairwoman Patty Murray, D-Wash., who said the panel needs to work together and not draw lines in the sand where they won’t cut the budget.

After the meeting, however, Sen. Jon Kyl, R-Ariz., said he would step down from the supercommittee rather than cut defense spending.

About 30 minutes into the meeting, Rep. Dave Camp, R-Mich., was talking about the need to reduce government spending and create more jobs when protesters in the hall interrupted him mid-sentence.

The demonstrators from Our DC, which wants to cut unemployment in the nation’s capital, chanted “What do we want? Jobs. When do we want them? Now” as committee staffers struggled to close the doors. But the shouts only grew louder and the meeting stopped until protesters were ushered out by Capitol police, so committee members could resume talking.

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