U.S. congressional leaders are "very close" to endorsing a plan to extend a payroll tax cut benefiting 160 million American workers through the end of 2012, said the chief House Republican negotiator.

"We're very close, but it isn't final," Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp of Michigan said this evening in an interview, adding that "there will be conversations tonight" aimed at completing the deal. "Whenever it's completed, we'll sign off," he said.

Entering a meeting of House Republicans this evening at which the plan was discussed, Camp told reporters that "a structure and a framework" of an agreement to continue the payroll tax cut was in place.

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