Members leaving the meeting indicated that the smaller session was more detailed than the full caucus question-and-answer period, but still left lingering doubts and fears about what the super committee might do.
Each Tri-Caucus chairman spoke, reiterating that they would favor a revenue-heavy deal that protects Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. Then super committee members spoke and fielded questions.
"They were a little bit more open," said a staffer who attended both meetings. "They didn't commit to anything or say anything too much. ... But we were asking more specific questions. We were having more of a discussion than a presentation."
Becerra said the meeting served to explain the deliberations to an anxious caucus.
"House Democrats are as anxious as anyone to try to get a clear sense of where the committee might end up, and we've had to explain to them so we can give them as best a sense of how things are proceeding without trying to violate any confidences of Members who are constantly continuing to work to see that we can get a deal," he said.
For the past several days GOP aides close to the negotiations have speculated that any deal that is ultimately cut will come between the super committee's six Republicans and Van Hollen, Kerry and Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.). Going into the negotiations, the six Republicans agreed to work as a unit, meaning that either they will all go along with an agreement or they will all oppose it. But Democrats, from Murray to Clyburn, have said publicly they are united as well.
Correction: An earlier version of this article misstated the contents of the plan Boehner offered to Reid.
Rep. Bill Cassidy has his blood drawn by Alesha Barbour during a free hepatitis screening in the Rayburn House Office Building hosted by the Congressional Viral Hepatitis Caucus to recognize "National Viral Hepatitis Testing Day."
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