By Kim Dixon
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives may vote Thursday on a measure to let income tax rates to rise for the wealthiest 2 percent of U.S. households, a top Democrat said Tuesday.
"Things can change but we are talking about Thursday," Representative Chris Van Hollen, a member of the Democratic leadership, said after meeting with other lawmakers.
Lawmakers are scrambling to reach a deal before the end of the year to delay expiration of tax cuts enacted under former President George W. Bush. Democrats want extension of lower rates for income up to $200,000, while Republicans want lower rates for income above that amount to be extended as well.
Earlier Tuesday, congressional leaders met with President Barack Obama, where they agreed to form a working group to resolve the issue.
"It was very positive in the spirit of moving forward and doing so in a way that helps to create jobs, reduce the deficit and lower taxes for the middle class," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said after the meeting.
Still, Democrats are divided on strategy.
Heading into a Democratic House leadership meeting to discuss the issue, Representative John Larson said "extension of all the tax cuts in the House is pretty much a non-starter."
"Both sides are probably going to need a vote before they come to some middle ground," Neal said. "Middle ground is not inescapable."
Neal has advocated a compromise where taxes would go up only on income above $500,000. More liberal members, however, may not be enthusiastic about that benchmark.
(Reporting by Kim Dixon; writing by Andy Sullivan; editing by Mohammad Zargham)