WASHINGTON (AP) — Its task complicated by the cost and politics of President Barack Obama's $447 billion jobs plan, a special House-Senate deficit-cutting panel worked Tuesday to find a bipartisan consensus on tackling the government's fiscal woes.

The panel got a sobering message about the budget deficit's toxic effect on the economy over the long term from economist Douglas Elmendorf, the director of the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office.

"The nation cannot continue to sustain the spending programs and policies of the past with the tax revenues it has been accustomed to paying," Elmendorf said in a statement. "Citizens will either have to pay more for their government, accept less in government services and benefits, or both."

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