(AP) – Congressional leaders have reached a deal with the White house on a bipartisan economic stimulus package that is expected to move swiftly through Congress and give most tax filers rebates of $600 to $1,200.
Tax rebates: Checks of at least $300 for almost everyone earning a paycheck, including low-income earners who make too little to pay income taxes, so long as they earned at least $3,000 in 2007. Families with children would receive an additional $300 per child, while those paying income taxes could receive higher rebates. The full rebate would be limited to individuals earning $75,000 or less and couples with incomes of $150,000 or less, but a partial rebate would go to individuals earning up to $87,000 and couples earning up to $174,000. The caps are higher for people with children. Business tax write-offs: Spurring business investments with so-called bonus depreciation and more generous expensing rules. Housing rescue: Allow more subprime mortgage holders to refinance into federally insured loans by raising the limit on Federal Housing Administration loans from $362,000 to as high as $729,750 in expensive areas. Increase the availability of mortgages by providing a one-year boost to the cap on loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy, from $417,000 up to $729,750 in high-cost markets.
Permanent tax cuts: Republicans conceded that their top priority would have to be left out. Unemployment insurance: Democrats wanted to extend benefits past 26 weeks. Food stamps: A boost for benefits. Medicaid: Democrats gave up on including Medicaid payments to states. Low-income heating subsidies: Democrats are surrendering the fight to include them. Infrastructure spending: Spending on transportation or repair projects already under way is off the table. Republicans’ proposal to allow businesses suffering losses now to reclaim taxes previously paid was dropped.
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