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The Boston Globe

Politics

Senate in last-minute scrum for deal

Myriad pieces of fiscal policy remain up in air

WASHINGTON — Senate leaders and their aides sought a formula Saturday to extend tax cuts for most Americans that could win bipartisan support in the Senate and final approval in the divided House by the new year, hoping to prevent large tax increases and budget cuts that could threaten the fragile economy.

As part of the last-minute negotiations, the lawmakers were haggling over unemployment benefits, cuts in Medicare payments to doctors, taxes on large inheritances, and how to limit the impact of the alternative minimum tax, a parallel income tax system that is intended to ensure the rich pay a fair share but that is increasingly encroaching on the middle class.

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