Economic Stimulus Package By Early March?

Reports from The Hill and The Associated Press today indicate that Senator Schumer (D-NY), Chairman of the Joint Economic Committee, believes that a stimulus package can be “done, signed and ready to go by March 1.” He believes that there is a strong enough willingness on both the Republican and Democratic sides to compromise on a final bill.

There are, however, some significant areas of difference between the two sides. Senator Schumer believes that any type of taxpayer rebate should include those who pay a tax on Social Security as well as those who pay income taxes. Reports seem to suggest that the Bush Administration’s proposal ideas will only include rebates for those who pay federal income taxes.

According to an Associated Press article, Chad Stone (chief economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities) estimates that a family of four earning less than $24,900 dollars a year would receive no rebate under the President’s package. He also estimates that around 44 million people do not pay an income tax because they do not earn enough annual income or are on a fixed income. If the White House proposal covers only those paying income taxes, Senator Schumer’s comments seem to suggest that could be a source of contention among both sides.

Senator Schumer stated in the article that, in a balanced plan, “the centerpiece would be a tax cut for the middle class and working families, and the bookends might be some business tax cuts as well as some spending stimuli for, say, people who are unemployed.”

Senator Schumer is also a member of the Senate Finance and Banking Committees.

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