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House Dems nearly done with $850B bill

Pelosi says lawmakers close to finalizing economic rescue legislation. Package totaling $800 billion to $850 billion will include up to $325 billion in tax cuts.

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By Deirdre Walsh, CNN congressional producer

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Wednesday that Democrats are close to finalizing the details of an economic recovery package.

Pelosi declined to give reporters any details of the bill, but said she is more confident that Congress would reach the mid-February deadline for getting a bill to Obama's desk.

"It's about four words -- jobs, jobs, jobs, jobs," she said.

The overall price tag for the package is $800 billion to $850 billion, with $300 billion to $325 billion designated for tax cuts and $500 billion to $525 billion dedicated to infrastructure spending and aid to the states, according to a senior House Democratic aide.

It's possible an announcement will be made on Thursday, the aide said.

Democratic leaders are still deciding whether to include a "patch" of the alternative minimum tax, which would increase the cost of the tax-cut section.

After complaints from Democrats, a tax credit Obama proposed for employers was dropped. But another tax cut aimed at broadening businesses' ability to write off their losses, called "net operating loss carryback," is still in the package, although it's unclear if it will remain in the final bill.

Republicans support the carryback provision, but some Democrats on the Hill want to drop it and shift more money to spending on infrastructure.

There was a flurry of meetings on Capitol Hill Wednesday.

Obama's incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, met with House Democratic leaders. Jason Furman, a top economic aide to Obama, held a morning meeting with House Democratic freshmen. And Democratic leaders held an afternoon meeting to work through final decisions on which tax cuts will be included. To top of page

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