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Lawmakers face tough choices to reduce debt
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WASHINGTON (AP) — If the deficit-cutting supercommittee fails, Congress will face a crummy choice. Lawmakers can allow payroll tax cuts and jobless aid for millions to expire or they extend them and increase the nation’s $15 trillion debt by at least $160 billion.President Barack Obama and Democrats on the deficit panel want to use the committee’s product to carry their jobs agenda. That includes cutting in half the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax and extending jobless benefits for people who have been unemployed for more than six months.Also caught up in what promises to be a chaotic legislative dash for the exits next month is the need to pass legislation to prevent an almost 30 percent cut in Medicare payments to doctors.