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House Quickly Approves an Economic Stimulus Package

January 29, 2008 - by Donny Shaw

Here it is, the House’s economic stimulus bill:

H.R.5140 – Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008

After weeks of planning and behind-the-scenes negotiating, the House introduced and passed their economic stimulus bill faster than we were able to get a page up for it on OpenCongress. But we’ve got it now, and we’ve also got a blog post from last week serving as an archive of news articles, blog coverage and user comments about the bill from the period before it was formally introduced.

On Tuesday, the House passed the economic stimulus bill, designed to revive the weakening economy, by an overwhelming vote of 385-35. It proposes to inject $145.9 billion into the economy, mostly by providing rebate checks worth $600 for individuals and $1,200 for families, plus $300 per child. In order to qualify for the rebates, individuals must have an adjusted gross income below $75,000; couples must make below $150,000. It also contains $45 billion in increased business tax incentives in order to encourage investments in new plants and equipment.

In addition, the bill contains bits and pieces of other bills currently pending in Congress that are designed to help soften the effects of the subprime mortgage crisis on the housing market. Like S.2338 proposes, the House’s stimulus bill raises the size of the loans that the Federal Housing Administration can insure. And, as H.R.1427 proposes, the bill would allow Government Sponsored Enterprises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to buy up more expensive loans, thus helping to spur liquidity at a higher level in the market.

The Senate Finance Committee is meeting today (Wednesday) at 2:30 to mark up their own version of an economic stimulus bill (they will also be deciding on important new rules relating to how they disclose their data). The bill being discussed informally in the Senate is slightly larger, doesn’t have income caps for the tax rebates and extends unemployment insurance benefits. The Politico has the details on how the Senate’s bill could present problems for the overall package a little further down the road.

We’re going to be hearing a lot about this bill in the coming months — what are your initial thoughts? Stimulating, all this talk about stimulus, ain’t it? Go to the bill page to comment and place your own vote, “aye” or nay."

Pictured above is President Bush in the Oval Office, praising the House of Representatives for passing this bill quickly.

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