April 6, 2006

Lawmakers close to tax cut deal: Boehner

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Congressional negotiators are close
to a deal on a $70 billion tax cut package that would extend
breaks for capital gains and dividends, House Majority Leader
John Boehner said on Thursday.

"I don't want to measure the chances of this, but there has
been a lot of progress made in the last 24 hours," the Ohio
Republican said.

The House of Representatives and Senate could take the
measure up as early as Friday, he said.

The bill would extend the maximum 15-percent tax rate on
capital gains and dividends beyond 2008, when the lower rates
are set to expire. Without action, capital gains taxes would
jump to 20 percent and dividends would be taxed as regular

The agreement between the House and Senate would also
include some relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax, which was
originally aimed at only a few of the wealthiest Americans but
would hit as many as 20 million taxpayers on their 2006 tax
returns if Congress fails to act.

Republican leaders would like to have the bill approved
before the two-week spring recess that starts this weekend,
ahead of the mid-April deadline for Americans to file their
federal income taxes, Boehner said.

"Those are the centerpieces of real tax reform and as we
approach April 15, assuring Americans that their taxes will be
kept low is a big goal of the country," Boehner said.