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And then there were only five

It was discouraging that Sen. Tom Coburn, R-Okla., dropped out of the "Gang of Six," saying that he doesn't see how it could reach an agreement on reducing the federal deficit. He was a key member of the bipartisan group — a proven fiscal conservative who acknowledged that a serious plan had to include both spending cuts and revenue increases. But he was also under intense pressure from anti-tax ideologues such as Grover Norquist. Standard & Poor's warned last month that it might lower its rating on U.S. government debt, expressing doubt that lawmakers could agree on a deficit-reduction plan. If the good-faith members of the Gang of Six can't agree on a plan, is there any hope for Congress?

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