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May 20, 2010 10:02 AM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Lawmakers agree to extend unemployment benefits

Lawmakers have agreed on legislation to extend expanded unemployment benefits for the long-term unemployed through the end of the year. Laid off workers would also continue to get subsidies to buy health insurance through the COBRA program.

House and Senate leaders announced the deal Thursday morning on a bill that would also extend, for a year, about 50 popular tax cuts that expired at the end of last year.

Lawmakers had been negotiating a provision that would spare doctors from a scheduled 21 percent cut in Medicare payments. They agreed to delay the cuts an additional three years.

House leaders plan to vote on the bill Friday, with the Senate voting next week.

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