Bush, Democrats to begin stimulus talks

Jan. 20, 2008 at 7:22 PM
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WASHINGTON, Jan. 20 (UPI) -- U.S. President George W. Bush and Democratic leaders of Congress are set to begin negotiations this week over how best to stimulate a slowing national economy.

A major sticking point will likely be whether to put extra money in the hands of millions of low-income families who paid little or no income tax last year, The New York Times reported Sunday.

Although Bush has yet to disclose specifics of his $145 billion economic stimulus plan, White House officials and Republican lawmakers favor a proposal that would offer rebates of up to $800 for individuals and $1,600 for families -- but only to those who paid that much in taxes last year.

Republicans argue it only makes sense to give tax rebates to people who actually paid taxes.

"You have to be a taxpayer in order to get a tax rebate," said Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., a member of the House Ways and Means Committee. "The White House is very clear that this is for people who pay taxes."

Democrats, however, say an economic stimulus plan should put money in the hands of low-income people. They say it's a matter of fairness and makes economic sense because people who are struggling to make ends meet are most likely to spend government disbursements quickly.

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