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Democrats scramble to figure out their next steps to stop across-the-board tax increases and federal spending cuts, with President Obama asking Congress to try to work together in the coming week on a scaled-down tax package instead of the broader deal he had been seeking. Obama's request comes almost 24 hours after House Speaker Boehner surprised Democrats by announcing it is now up to the Senate and the White House to craft a bill that can pass both chambers. Obama says he is still ready and willing to get a comprehensive package done, but asks congressional leaders to turn their attention to a smaller package that would focus on preserving the reduced tax rates for individuals earning up to $200,000 ($250,000 for married filing jointly). He also would like the skeleton deal to include language laying the groundwork for future deficit reduction.
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