Progress in talks on payroll tax, jobless benefits

ANDREW TAYLOR Associated Press Published:

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Aides to participants in House-Senate talks on renewing President Barack Obama's signature payroll tax cut say negotiators have made significant progress and that an agreement could come as early as Tuesday.

A Democratic aide said there are just a couple of "lingering issues" and that negotiators are "getting closer and closer." The aide required anonymity to assess the private negotiations.

The negotiations have intensified after House GOP leaders dropped a demand that the $100 billion or so cost of renewing the 2 percentage point cut in the Social Security payroll tax be defrayed with spending cuts elsewhere in the budget.

But negotiators still need to find savings to pay for the $30 billion cost of renewing jobless benefits and $20 billion price for fixing a Medicare payment formula for doctors.