Monday, November 29, 2010

Lawmakers must deal with budget, taxes and jobless benefits - Nov. 28, 2010

Lawmakers must deal with budget, taxes and jobless benefits - Nov. 28, 2010

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- The lame-duck Congress returns on Monday to a daunting agenda of economic issues. And lawmakers will try to accomplish in a few weeks what has eluded them all year.

Here's their To Do list:

Medicare payments to doctors: The House on Monday is set to take up a measure delaying a 23% cut in federal reimbursements to doctors by one month.

The Medicare payment reduction is scheduled to go into effect Wednesday if lawmakers don't act. Physicians have threatened to drop Medicare patients if their rates are slashed.

Bush tax cuts: On Tuesday, President Obama will meet with congressional leaders on both sides of the aisle to tackle the extension of the Bush tax cuts.

Unemployment benefits: It looks increasingly likely that hundreds of thousands of people will start running out of extended unemployment benefits this week.

Deficit commission: President Obama's fiscal commission is scheduled to issue a report on how to reduce the nation's long-term on Dec. 1.

Fiscal 2011 budget: Lawmakers are already two months late in enacting the fiscal 2011 budget, though they passed a temporary spending plan that expires on Friday.

Congress could finally pass a full-year budget, but that's a long shot. It's more likely that lawmakers will approve another so-called continuing resolution, which maintains funding for federal operations at 2010 levels. The big question is how long the Band-Aid will last.

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