Facing a daunting slate of tax increases and spending cuts at the beginning of 2013, a bipartisan group of senators is working on a comprehensive plan to avert the looming "fiscal cliff." The first step is to come up with a deficit-reduction goal, likely about $4 trillion over 10 years, then hammer out legislation to achieve that through overhauling the tax code, making changes to Medicare and Social Security, and cutting federal programs. The House is not involved in the discussions at this stage, and the Senate negotiators are leaving all the hard numbers until after the election, when the winning party will presumably have more leverage.
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