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Payroll tax negotiations off to slow start

Payroll tax, jobless benefits negotiations on Capitol Hill off to slow start as deadline nears By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON (AP) ' Negotiators on Capitol Hill are in agreement on extending through the end of the year a payroll tax cut worth about $1,000 this year for a typical worker. But they remain far apart on how to pay for the extension, and for jobless benefits for millions, without swelling the national debt.

A House-Senate panel on Wednesday began its negotiations on the payroll tax and jobless benefits measure ' core components of President Barack Obama's jobs agenda ' by signaling progress on second-tier issues like overhauling unemployment insurance.

But the talks have yet to focus on controversial plans to pay for the measure with spending cuts or new fees. Talks ran aground over House GOP proposals such as requiring unemployed people to pass drug tests to receive jobless benefits.

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