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Dec 30, 2012 12:33 PM by Associated Press

Fiscal cliff deal would pale against expectations

WASHINGTON (AP) - The fiscal deal President Barack Obama and Congress aim to cobble together will be far smaller than what they initially envisioned as an alternative to purposefully distasteful tax increases and spending cuts.

If they do reach an agreement, it will put off some big decisions about tax and entitlement changes and leave other deadlines in place that will likely lead to similar moments of brinkmanship, some in just a matter of weeks.

Republican and Democratic negotiators in the Senate were hoping for a deal as early as Sunday on what threshold to set for increased tax rates, whether to keep current inheritance tax rates and exemptions and how to pay for jobless benefits and Medicare payments to doctors.

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