Tentative agreement?

TENTATIVE AGREEMENT?…. It appears a compromise is in place for an economic stimulus package that the House and Senate can (and presumably, will) pass.

Democratic negotiators have reached agreement on reducing the overall cost of President Obama’s economic stimulus plan, scaling it down to $789.5 billion, a net reduction of almost $50 billion from what the Senate approved yesterday, according to a senior adviser familiar with the talks.

House and Senate negotiators, including Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Calif.), were huddling this morning trying to iron out the final details on the massive package in advance of a formal House-Senate conference this afternoon in the Lyndon Baines Johnson Room off the Senate floor. Democrats hope the conference will produce quick agreement and set the legislation on a glide path to passage in the House Thursday and the Senate over the weekend.

While the notion of Democrats making the bill even smaller may sound discouraging, reports suggest changes have been made in the right direction. Tax cuts, including tax credits for home and car purchases, are being scaled back. At least some — it’s unclear at this point exactly how much — of the aid to struggling states will be restored, as will $6 billion in lost funding for school construction, repair, and modernization

There will be a formal meeting of negotiators in about two hours, at which point they will hopefully shake hands and complete the deal.

If all goes well this afternoon, we’ll see a House vote tomorrow and a Senate vote Friday. Stay tuned.

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Steve Benen

Steve Benen is a producer at MSNBC's The Rachel Maddow Show. He was the principal contributor to the Washington Monthly's Political Animal blog from August 2008 until January 2012.