Washington (CNN) – Republican members of the Congressional debt-crisis "super committee" met behind closed doors for the first time on Capitol Hill Tuesday.
Congressional leaders from the House and Senate formed the committee earlier this month after raising the nation's debt ceiling and tasked them with finding an additional $1.5 trillion in savings over the next decade. The 12-member bipartisan panel must propose cuts by November 23rd and hold votes on the cuts one month later.
If Congress can't agree to those reductions, automatic cuts will take effect in programs like defense and entitlement; something neither party desires.
The meeting began at 10 a.m. ET in the Cannon House Office Building and ran well into the afternoon.
Co-chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling, (R-Texas), and Sen. Patty Murray, (D-Washington), announced that Mark Prater will serve as staff director for the committee. Prater is a currently a Republican aide on the Senate Finance Committee.
After the meeting wrapped at roughly 5:15 p.m. ET, Hensarling said, "Last week Senator Murray and I encouraged members of the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to engage in active and useful dialogue on the committee’s work. In that spirit, committee Republicans today discussed the work that others have contributed to the cause of deficit reduction and how we can work with our Democratic colleagues to achieve success," in a written statement.
"These conversations will continue, across the aisle and among each caucus, as everyone prepares for the first meeting of the full committee,” he pledged.
–CNN's Ted Barrett and Kate Bolduan contributed to this report.