Bush to lay out stimulus ideas Friday

Updated: 2008-01-18 22:58

Washington -- US President Bush is putting together his first public call for a "robust" emergency fiscal stimulus bill to get cash quickly into the pockets of consumers and jump-start a sagging economy, his treasury secretary said Friday.

Bush planned to lay out his position later in the day, but he wasn't expected to go into specifics. Press secretary Dana Perino said Bush would demand that any package be effective, simple and temporary -- mirroring calls by Democratic lawmakers for a "timely, targeted and temporary" stimulus measure.

Taxpayers could receive rebates of up to US$800 for individuals and US$1,600 for married couples under a White House plan. Although lawmakers were considering smaller rebate checks and more money for food stamp recipients and the unemployed, Bush told congressional leaders that he favors income tax rebates for people and tax breaks for business investment.

"What he believes is that we've got to do something that is robust. It's going to be temporary and get money into the economy quickly," US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson said Friday on CBS's "The Early Show." "It's going to be focused on consumers, individuals, families -- putting money in their pocket. And it's going to be focused on giving businesses the incentive to hire people, to create jobs."

US Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke entered the stimulus debate Thursday, endorsing the idea of putting money into the hands of those who would spend it quickly and boost the flagging economy.

The scramble to take action came as fears mounted that a severe housing slump and a painful credit crisis could cause people to clamp down on their spending and businesses to put a lid on hiring, throwing the country into its first recession since 2001.

Aides to lawmakers involved in the talks said the White House also wants to eliminate the 10 percent income tax bracket for one year and issue a rebate within months. Advocates for the poor said that tens of millions of people in lower income ranges would be left out or not fully feel the benefit of the White House plan.

Lawmakers were instead discussing a US$500 rebate for individuals, the aides said, with details for couples and people with children still being negotiated.

The rebates would likely be limited to individuals with incomes of US$85,000 or less and couples with incomes of US$110,000 or less, the aides said, speaking on condition of anonymity because no final decisions had been made.

   1 2   

Top World News  
Today's Top News  
Most Commented/Read Stories in 48 Hours