Congress Reaches Deal on Tax Rebates

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WASHINGTON -- Democrats and Republicans have managed to put aside partisan politics to reach a tentative deal on an economic stimulus plan.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has announced an agreement with Republican leaders and the White House on an economic stimulus package that will give most tax filers rebates of $600 to $1,200.

Pelosi said Congress would act on the agreement  "at the earliest date, so that those rebate checks will be in the mail." The rebates will go to 117 million families, according to a Democratic summary.

Responding to Recession Woes

After this week's panic and rebound in the markets and a feverish desire to head off a recession, President Bush and lawmakers from both parties are trying to quickly pump money into the economy.

"We should act and act now to strengthen the economy," Democrat Rep. John Spratt said.

The plan's general outline consists of mostly of tax rebates for Americans. For right now, it looks like $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples.

It would also include tax breaks for corporate America, which could help businesses invest in new equipment or new workers.

However, not everyone was on board with putting the plan on the fast track.

"I am concerned that in our rush to help, we will talk ourselves into a quick, feel-good hit today, that will leave us with a bigger budgetary hangover tomorrow," Republican Rep. Paul Ryan said.

Meanwhile, while investors watch the wild ride on Wall Street, it's playing out on Main street as well.

At this week's conference of mayors, city leaders say a stimulus package is long-overdue.

"It needs to be done now; it can't be long-term. We need a long-term solution, but we need help now. People need help now," said Frank Ortis, mayor of Pembroke Pines, Fla.

Even when the stimulus package is passed, taxpayers shouldn't expect to see those rebate checks in the mail until May or June.

The Internal Revenue Service, which would send the checks, says it would take at least 60 days to create and implement a plan to make the payments. And processing those payments comes right as the IRS is in the midst of tax season.

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