Thursday, January 24, 2008


Taxpayers would get checks under economic stimulus plan
Story Highlights

NEW: "Tens of millions of Americans" to get check, Pelosi says
NEW: Agreement must pass House, Senate before checks issued
Deal would give taxpaying individuals $600, couples filing jointly $1,200, sources say
Parents may get $300 more per child, sources say

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- American taxpayers would get checks of several hundred dollars from the federal government under a plan to stimulate the economy announced by congressional and administration officials Thursday.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, right, and House Minority Leader John Boehner announce the stimulus package on Thursday.

"Tens of millions Americans will have a check in the mail," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-California, said at a Capitol Hill news conference. "It is there to strengthen the middle class, to create jobs and to turn this economy around."

"I'm looking for quick action in the House. I hope that the Senate will follow quickly so that we can put this money in the hands of middle-income Americans as soon as possible," said Rep. John Boehner, R-Ohio, the House minority leader.

Sources on Capitol Hill and at the Treasury Department said the plan would send checks of $600 to individuals and $1,200 to couples who paid income tax and who filed jointly.

People who did not pay federal income taxes but who had earned income of more than $3,000 would get checks of $300 per individual or $600 per couple.

A Democratic aide and Republican aide said there will be an additional amount per child, which could be in the neighborhood of $300.

Those who earn up to $75,000 individually or up to $150,000 as a couple will be eligible for the payments, said Republican and Democratic sources familiar with the tentative deal.

Checks could be in taxpayers' mailboxes by June, according to an Associated Press report.

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The agreement includes a robust package of business incentives and help for homeowners facing possible mortgage foreclosures.

The Treasury Department still must analyze the numbers to determine the price tag of the stimulus package, sources said.

To get to the agreement, Democrats dropped calls for increases in food stamps and an extension of unemployment compensation. Republicans agreed to allow people who pay Social Security taxes but not income taxes to get the checks, sources said.

An announcement on the plan could come Thursday afternoon, the two sources said.

Aides in both parties said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been working aggressively in recent days as he tries to make progress before House Republicans head out of Washington for a legislative retreat at the end of the week.

The stimulus package may face resistance from fiscal conservatives in both parties over worries that it would increase the federal debt. The talks are occurring as auditors report that the federal deficit -- the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends -- is increasing.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday the deficit would jump to $250 billion, mainly because of a weakening economy. That estimate does not include any additional spending that would be part of a stimulus package.

The proposal is intended to address economic worries stemming from a worldwide credit crunch created by the mortgage crisis and plunging stock markets. The president proposed the package last week. Watch a debate on whether the U.S. is heading into a recession »

Officials in both parties credited Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs executive known for a shrewd grasp of the markets, with pushing the package aggressively.
"He's been on the phone with practically every member of Congress -- some of them a few times," one Senate Republican aide said. "He's not fooling around." E-mail to a friend

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