Lawmakers Move To Cusp Of Deal On Payroll Tax Cut

WASHINGTON (AP) - Congressional leaders are gauging lawmakers' reactions to a tentative deal extending a 2 percentage-point payroll tax cut and added unemployment benefits for the rest of 2012.

Republican and Democratic bargainers worked out the package late Tuesday. The roughly $150 billion measure also would prevent a steep cut in Medicare reimbursements to doctors.

About a third of the measure's costs would be paid for, with savings that include cuts in Medicare payments to hospitals, increased employee contributions to federal pensions and government sales of parts of the broadcast airwaves.

Both sides cautioned that the accord was not final and could be changed.

Congressional approval would end a bitter partisan battle. On Monday, Republicans dropped their demand that a payroll tax cut - costing nearly $100 billion - be entirely paid for.