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GOP leaders and the White House are discussing a deal that would enact strict deficit targets and some spending cuts to win Republican votes for lifting the ceiling on how much the federal government can borrow.
The deal would defer contentious decisions about Medicare, Medicaid and taxes until after the 2012 elections. If such an agreement were reached, it would allow both sides to assure financial markets and the public of their commitment to reducing the deficit and then use next year's campaign to lay out their competing visions for the future of major government programs.