Washington (CNN) - With the deadline to come up with a $1.5 trillion deficit reduction package just weeks away, and very little detail about what the so-called "super committee" is discussing behind closed doors, the co-chair of the bipartisan panel insisted Tuesday there's plenty of time to reach a deal.
"I remain encouraged that the members of the Joint Select Committee know how serious the situation is. I believe they are all committed to achieving the goal and until the stroke of midnight on November 22nd, we still have plenty of time to do the committee's work," Texas Republican Rep. Jeb Hensarling told reporters on Capitol Hill.
Hensarling's comment suggests that the panel will take the full amount of time up to its November 23rd deadline to release its recommendations.
But Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer, D-Maryland, said while he was "hopeful" the group would reach a deal by the deadline, he wasn't yet confident the weeks of discussions were developing the outlines of an agreement.
"Hopeful is not confident," the number two House Democrat emphasized.
Although Hoyer said he's been in contact with all the members of the panel, he admitted those on it are not sharing very many details of the group's meetings, even with leaders.
"The twelve are being very circumspect with their colleagues as well as the press," Hoyer said Tuesday. But he explained that the silence was deliberate, noting, "a big deal is going to be a controversial deal."
Despite both political parties push to press for various jobs bills, Hoyer maintained that the super committee's work is the most important effort in Washington.
"I think it will be one of the single best things we can do to give confidence to our own people, to give confidence to business and consumers, and to strengthen confidence around the world in America's ability to meet the challenges that confront it."
One potential option before the panel is to provide a blueprint for spending cuts and tax reform in time for the November deadline, but leave the details to the relevant Congressional committees to fill in. Hoyer said such an approach could gain support in Congress.
After more than a month of only closed door meetings, the super committee has scheduled an open hearing for Wednesday to hear testimony from the director of the Congressional Budget Office.
If a simple majority of the super committee's members approves its recommendations, Congress is required to hold an up or down vote on the package by December 23rd.