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Congressional leaders reach spending deal to avoid government shutdown

Staff Report

Congressional negotiators signed off Thursday evening on a $1 trillion spending agreement for 2012 for federal agencies, barely 27 hours before a deadline that could have led to a government shutdown.

After dropping minor policy prescriptions that President Obama opposed, members of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees gave final approval to the plan after a four-day standoff related to Obama’s demands to extend the payroll tax holiday for 160 million workers.

That negotiation, lawmakers and aides said, also could be headed toward an agreement, with lawmakers considering extending the $120 billion tax break for two months to buy more time to determine how they offset the benefit’s cost so it does not add to the federal deficit.

The White House initially had pushed Congress to delay the spending plan until the issue of the payroll tax was resolved, a move that raised the specter of a government shutdown and threatened to increase workers’ withholding tax at the start of the new year.

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The Alabama Political Reporter is a daily political news site devoted to Alabama politics. We provide accurate, reliable coverage of policy, elections and government.

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