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Sen. Tom Coburn quits 'gang of six'

Sen. Tom Coburn (R-Okla.) said Tuesday he was taking a break from the "gang of six" senators that has been trying to develop bipartisan deficit reduction legislation after talks hit an impasse.

Losing the conservative Oklahoma Republican is a blow to the bipartisan effort that many in Washington had hoped would produce a strategy that could bring both parties to the table to reduce the nation’s rising debt.

"[Coburn] is disappointed the group has not been able to bridge the gap between what needs to happen and what senators will support,” said a statement from the senator's spokesman. "He has decided to take a break from the talks."

The group has been meeting behind closed doors all year to broker the divide, aiming to reach $4 trillion in deficit reductions through tax and spending changes modeled after the recommendations of President Obama's bipartisan fiscal commission.

lmascaro@tribune.com

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