WASHINGTON (AP) — Four prominent deficit-cutters told Congress' bipartisan "supercommittee" on Tuesday that they must strike a major debt reduction compromise that both raises revenue and revamps giant benefit programs.

If the two parties prove unwilling to make concessions — with Republicans accepting higher revenues and Democrats backing major overhauls to programs like Medicare — then "they are both complicit in letting America destroy itself," said Pete Domenici, a former GOP senator from New Mexico who headed the Senate Budget Committee.

Erskine Bowles, who was White House chief of staff under President Bill Clinton, said the public would reward the lawmakers "if you're bold and do it in a smart manner" — a euphemism for going well beyond their goal of finding a minimum $1.2 trillion in 10-year savings.

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