With just about two weeks left in the year, Congress still has a lot on its plate. About a half-dozen federal tax and spending policies are set to expire at the end of the year. They range from extending unemployment insurance to the payroll tax holiday to the Medicare doctor fix, and extending any of them costs billions.

The Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative passes along this helpful chart that underscores how much hangs in the balance over the coming weeks. To extend all existing federal tax and spending policies set to expire at the end of the month would cost $152 billion for 2012, while shoring things up for the next decade comes with a $1.8 trillion price tag. Here’s the breakdown:


Congress is starting to take some steps on these issues; on Friday, Republicans introduced a bill that takes on many of these issues. While many of these issues tend to come down to the wire regularly, with Congress taking action at the last moment, it’s uncertain how much will actually be accomplished by the end of the year. As J. Lester Feder reports for Politico today, doctors are starting to get worried that a fix to their Medicare payments will get pushed into early 2012. What happens will depend a lot on what Congress is able to accomplish in the coming days, and weeks, ahead.