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House, Senate Committee Move Economic Stimulus Packages

On January 29, the House passed, 385-35, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act (H.R. 5140).

The measure, sponsored by Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA), would provide tax rebates of $600 to individual taxpayers and $1,200 to married couples filing joint tax returns, along with rebates of $300 for each dependent child. Taxpayers with an earned income of at least $3,000 would be eligible for a minimum tax rebate of $300. The bill would reduce the tax rebates by five percent of the amount that exceeds an adjusted gross income of $75,000 for individual taxpayers and $150,000 for joint returns.

On January 30, the Senate Finance Committee approved, 14-7, separate legislation, the Economic Stimulus Act (as-yet-unnumbered). Unlike H.R. 5140, the Economic Stimulus Act, sponsored by Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), would provide tax rebates of $500 to individual taxpayers ($1,000 for married couples filing jointly) with $3,000 in qualifying income that includes Social Security benefits, net self-employment income, and wages. This change would allow disabled veterans and low-income senior citizens to be eligible for the tax rebate. The Senate measure would phase-out rebates by five percent of adjusted gross income, beginning at $150,000 for single taxpayers and $300,000 for married couples. Like the House measure, families also would receive $300 for each child under the age of 17 who qualifies under the current child tax credit rules.

The Senate bill also would provide individuals living in high unemployment states with 13 additional weeks of unemployment insurance.

The Senate is expected to consider the draft legislation next week.

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