Senator Max Baucus of Montana, chairman of the Finance Committee, said “things are starting to gel” around a deal. According to aides familiar with the talks, the plan, in its early stages, centered on a deal that would extend all the expiring Bush income tax cuts up to $400,000 in income.A farm bill has to be produced as well: "The most recent farm bill, passed in 2008, expired on Sept. 30. If a new farm bill is not passed or the current one extended, farm programs would lose billions in financing and revert to the 1949 law."
Some spending cuts would pay for a provision putting off a sudden reduction in payments to medical providers treating Medicare patients. The deal would also prevent an expansion of the alternative minimum tax to keep it from hitting more of the middle class. It would extend a raft of already expired business tax cuts, like the research and development credit, and would renew tax cuts for the working poor and the middle class included in the 2009 stimulus law.
The debt ceiling will be kicked down the road for the new Congress, assuring that this drama of ill will and mendacity will continue unabated into next year.