Neither party can stand in way of stimulus bills
President Bush and Congress are near agreement of an economic stimulus package centered on tax rebates.
FEAR of a deep recession has triggered a rare and rapid compromise between President Bush and Democratic congressional leaders in the form of a $150 billion economic stimulus package. Recognition of the need to rejuvenate the economy crosses party lines, although partisan grumbling can be expected during this election year.
Over the past week, Congress appeared ready to quickly provide tax rebates of $300 to $1,200 for individuals and couples, with an additional $300 a child for families. The package also will include tax breaks for business spending, as Bush wanted, and will include people who earned at least $3,000 but not enough to pay taxes, satisfying Democrats.
The president had wanted his controversial tax cuts to be extended beyond their 2010 expiration but said he recognized "the desire to add provisions from both the right and left." Democrats wanted to extend unemployment benefits and increase food stamps but House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said her chamber will act "quickly and decisively to put recovery rebates in the hands of hard-working Americans." Hesitant Senate Democrats should fall into line.
When similar rebates of $300 were distributed in 2001, two-thirds of the cash was spent within six months, according to one study, and they helped the economy out of a recession. This spring's rebates are not guaranteed to work, but Republicans and Democrats alike cannot risk having stood in the way of a remedy.
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