Is it almost over? Perhaps, top aides to congressional leaders told The New York Times on Friday. A potential compromise is reportedly being explored that would include a scaled-down proposal preventing tax increases on household incomes of $400,000 or below. The agreement is said to be “in the early stages and far from a certainty.” The deal does not stop automatic spending cuts from hitting military and domestic programs beginning Wednesday, nor does it raise the statutory borrowing limit, but those issues will reportedly be resolved in another showdown early next year. White House official deny that the agreement is developing, again echoing its mandate that only income up to $250,000 be protected from tax increases.