WASHINGTON (AP) _ Republicans say their proposal to end the so-called marriage tax penalty would give a break to couples who can end up paying as much as $1,400 a year more in taxes than they would if they were single.

Legislation introduced Tuesday pulls together a number of earlier bills over the past few months, co-sponsors Rep. Jerry Weller, R-Ill., and Rep. David McIntosh, R-Ind., said Tuesday.

Under the bill, married couples would be taxed 15 percent on the first $49,300 of their total income _ comparable to two single people each paying the 15 percent rate on the first $24,650 of income. Currently, married couples are taxed 15 percent on their first $41,200 of income.

``This reform would allow families an additional $8,100 of income taxed at the low 15 percent rate, instead of the current 28 percent rate, giving families up to $1,053 in tax relief,'' McIntosh's office said in a written statement.

The bill also would increase the standard deduction for married couples to $8,300 _ double the $4,150 for singles _ from the current $6,900 for a couple.

Republicans and leaders of several conservative groups, including the Christian Coalition, lined up behind the bill Tuesday, saying the government should support and encourage marriage, not undermine it.

``When a couple stands at the altar and says, `I do,' they are not agreeing to higher taxes,'' said Rep. Wally Herger, R-Calif., sponsor of an earlier bill.

The bill doesn't say how the government would replace the $150 billion the legislation would subtract from government tax revenues over five years. But Weller and McIntosh said they hoped at least some of the loss would be covered by money from an expected government budget surplus. McIntosh also suggested reducing welfare spending.

Current law punishes many married couples who file jointly by pushing them into higher tax brackets, Weller and McIntosh said. It also taxes the income of a family's second wage earner at a higher rate than it would if that earner were single.