President Bush used his final State Of The Union Address to hammer home what he says Congress must do, pass the bipartisan Economic Stimulus Package and soon. "This is a good agreement that will keep our economy growing and our people working. And this Congress must pass it as soon as possible."
With news today that home foreclosures jumped 79% percent last year and indications that more subprime mortgages failures are on the way this year and next, the House began debate on their package today.
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said, "The priority we had was to put $28-billion-dollars in the hands of 35-million-people who have never had a rebate before and to do it quickly."
But some republicans had a different idea. "Rather than telling the Country the check is in the mail in June, let's do the right thing that puts money in the hands of the American people by canceling the federal income tax withholding" said Congressman James Sensenbrenner (R) from Wisconsin.
But while the House is poised to act, Senate Democrats are announcing a proposal of their own, featuring smaller checks than the house compromise, but also extending unemployment benefits. Some members are promising everything from heating assistance to additional food stamps, tax incentives for businesses, and road funds.
It's all more costly with the potential to slow prospects for speedy economic stimulus. "Reasonable people can and will differ on whether or not it's the right package that could also be timely, targeted and temporary" said David Walker with the General Accounting Office.
The House could vote on its package sometime Tuesday afternoon, but with the Senate now getting into the act, it may be sometime before a final bill reaches the President