After days of political wrangling in the Senate, Congressional leaders signed an economic stimulus bill worth an estimated $150-billion dollars. "We are making history. What has passed the Congress in record time is a gift to the middle class and those who aspire it," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
The bill will mean money in the pockets of millions of taxpayers like Diana Contreras. She said she will use the money to take her daughter to Disneyland.
Contreras and more than a dozen others crowded into Fresno's Acorn office Thursday evening, where the organization offered free tax help for low and moderate income families; families who will gain the most from the stimulus package.
Under the bill, individuals who make between three and $75-thousand dollars will receive checks ranging from three hundred to six hundred dollars. Couples making under $150-thousand dollars will receive checks for $1,200-dollars with an additional $300-dollars per child. In an addition approved by the senate Wednesday, 20-million low income seniors and disabled veterans will also receive checks for $300 dollars.
Back at the Fresno Acorn office news of the bill's passage was greeted with excitement. "I think it's great. I think it's something we can all use gas and food and everything going up. So it's absolutely something we can use," said Volunteer Dora Salazar.
The checks may be months away, but here, many say they know exactly what they'll do with the money and it's not exactly stimulating the economy. "Bills. Back to our credit cards," said taxpayer Myma Valencia, "a lot of us have been using our credit cards when we need it."
The Bush Administration has indicated the president will sign the bill. It's expected to be on his desk next week and people could begin receiving checks by mid-May.