Bloomberg News

WASHINGTON - The American Council of Life Insurers is lobbying heavily to persuade Congress to pass a tax bill aimed at boosting retirement savings.

The 10-year, $240 billion bill, which is stalled in the Senate, would raise the maximum tax-deductible contribution to individual retirement accounts to $5,000, from the current $2,000.

Banking companies such as Citigroup Inc., life insurers such as Principal Financial Group Inc., and brokerages such as Merrill Lynch & Co. favor the retirement savings provisions, which also would expand 401(k) plans.

The bill also includes a provision for $33 billion in additional Medicare funds for health maintenance organizations and hospitals. President Clinton has threatened to veto the tax bill because of this provision, saying it would give too much money to HMOs.

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