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The Latest: GOP agrees to lower top tax rate for individuals

FILE - This Sept. 27, 2017 file photo shows Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., center, joining Speaker of the House Paul Ryan, R-Wis., and other GOP lawmakers to talk about the Republicans' proposed rewrite of the tax code for individuals and corporations, at the Capitol in Washington. The Republican tax plan will deliver a swift adrenaline shot to the economy that will send hundreds of billions pouring into federal tax coffers, the Trump administration asserts in a new analysis. House and Senate negotiators are rushing to finalize the tax legislation and deliver the promised measure to President Donald Trump before Christmas. Trump will try on Wednesday, Dec. 13, 2017 to sell the American people on an unpopular GOP tax overhaul. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite, file)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Republican tax overhaul (all times local):

5 p.m.

Congressional aides say Republican negotiators have agreed to lower the top tax rate for individuals from 39.6 percent to 37 percent as the final parameters of a sweeping tax package are starting to take shape.

The agreement was confirmed by two congressional aides who spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity Tuesday because they were not authorized to speak publicly about private negotiations.

The tax cut could be a windfall for the wealthiest Americans. It could also provide ammunition for Democrats who complain that the tax package is a massive giveaway to corporations and the rich.

Under current law, the top tax rate applies to income above $470,000 for married couples, though lawmakers are completely reworking the tax brackets.

Republican leaders say the tax cuts focus on the middle class.

— By Stephen Ohlemacher

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4:45 p.m.

Congressional aides say Republican negotiators have agreed to set the corporate income tax rate at 21 percent as part of last-minute negotiations on a sweeping tax package.

Both the Senate bill and the House bill would lower the corporate rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. But negotiators agreed to bump the rate up to 21 percent to offset revenue losses from other tax breaks, said two congressional aides.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations.

Business and conservative groups have lobbied hard to keep the corporate rate at 20 percent.

Lawmakers are working to deliver the most sweeping tax changes in more than 30 years to President Donald Trump's desk by Christmas.

— By Stephen Ohlemacher

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1:25 p.m.

Congressional aides say negotiators have agreed to scale back the mortgage interest deduction, which would allow homeowners to deduct interest on the first $750,000 of a new mortgage.

The provision is part of a massive tax package speeding toward passage as early as next week.

The House bill would limit the deduction to the first $500,000 of a new mortgage, while the Senate bill would keep the current limit of $1 million. Two congressional aides said negotiators have agreed to split the difference.

The aides spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to publicly discuss private negotiations.

The provision would not affect current mortgages.

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12 p.m.

House and Senate negotiators are rushing to finalize the Republican tax legislation for a vote next week, to deliver the promised measure to President Donald Trump before Christmas.

The chief tax-writer in the House, Rep. Kevin Brady, says "We're on track to finish" this week. Brady pushed back against suggestions that lawmakers were hastily crafting complex legislation in only a few days. The negotiators are working to iron out the significant differences between the tax bills recently passed by the House and Senate.

"It's not like people don't know these issues," he said.

Republican leaders still are working to placate GOP lawmakers from high-tax states like California, New York and New Jersey whose constituents would be hit hard by the reduction of the prized federal deduction for state and local taxes.

3:23 a.m.

The Trump administration is asserting in a new analysis that the Republican-pushed tax overhaul will deliver a swift adrenaline shot to the economy that will send hundreds of billions pouring into federal tax coffers. But nonpartisan analysts make a less rosy projection of new revenue.

House and Senate negotiators are rushing to finalize the tax legislation and deliver the promised measure to President Donald Trump before Christmas. Trump will try on Wednesday to sell the American people on an unpopular GOP tax bill. His pitch is that the plan will lift all economic boats, bringing a brighter future for taxpayers and their families.

A Treasury Department analysis issued Monday estimated the tax legislation will generate a large part of $1.8 trillion in new revenue over 10 years.