WASHINGTON (AP) — It may not sound like it from the rhetoric, but both the House and Senate already have passed separate bills to delay big tax increases awaiting nearly every taxpayer next year if Congress and the White House can’t agree on a plan to avert the “fiscal cliff.”
The Democratic-controlled Senate passed a bill in July that would extend many of the expiring George W. Bush-era tax cuts for middle-income families, while letting tax cuts end for individuals who make more than $200,000 and married couples making more than $250,000.
The Republican-led House passed a bill in August that would extend the tax cuts for just about everyone.
Republican leaders in Congress say they are willing to accept higher taxes on the wealthy, but only by reducing or eliminating credits, deductions and exemptions. They adamantly oppose higher tax rates, which Democratic leaders are demanding.
Leaders from each party said their bill should be the starting point for finding a solution in the next few weeks. Both bills would extend tax cuts through next year. The Senate bill would save taxpayers about $250 billion, according to congressional estimates. The House bill would save taxpayers about $400 billion.
A look at the specifics of each bill:
Senate: Extends the Bush tax cuts for middle-and low-income families, while letting the top two income tax rates increase from 33 percent to…