The United States has been more than $1 trillion in debt for three consecutive years, according to the Treasury Department, which said on Wednesday that the federal deficit through July totaled $1.1 trillion. That's a small improvement from 2009, when the shortfall was $1.41 trillion, but this year's deficit is on track to exceed last year's $1.29 trillion imbalance. Three years of record deficits have pressured the White House and Congress to agree on a 12-member committee of lawmakers to come up with a long-term strategy to cut $1.2 trillion from the deficit over the next decade. If they don't agree on a plan by Thanksgiving, severe spending cuts across a variety of sectors will take effect immediately.
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