Stimulus Package Hits Snag in Senate

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WASHINGTON - Congress and the White House are on the same page when it comes to quickly injecting money into the economy.

The problem is the House and Senate aren't reading from the same script. That could stall when millions of Americans can expect to receive their tax rebates.

Get Pat Robertson's analysis, following this report.

Stuck on the Economy

Like investors and market watchers, Washington politicians have been pre-occupied with the economy.

And on Capitol Hill, lawmakers have set aside the usual bitter partisan rancor and come up with a nearly $150-billion stimulus package that took only five days to pass.

"Is the bill perfect? House Minority Leader John Boehner asked. "No it's not perfect! The Republicans gave a little, the speaker gave a little."

"The priority we had was to put $28 billion in the hands of 35 million people who have never had a rebate before and to do it quickly," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.

But before those rebate checks can be processed, printed and posted in the mail, the bill must first be approved by the Senate, where the House version is already under fire.

Senate Democrats are proposing a larger package that would add billions of dollars to include senior citizens and the unemployed.

So What's the Problem?

The plan would also shrink the size of the rebates and strip the income cap to include checks even for the wealthiest taxpayers - left out in the measure passed by the House.

That idea is drawing criticism from Senate leaders.

"We'd have the spectacle of sending thousand dollar checks to Bill Gates, Donald Trump, Barry Bonds, and members of Congress," Democratic Senator Ken Conrad said.

"To take off the caps causes me to want to gag," Majority Leader Sen. Harry Reid said.

After the House's swift vote, President Bush chided the senate to follow suit.

"The temptation is going to be for the Senate to load it up. We need to get this bill out of the Senate and on my desk so the checks can get in the hands of our consumers and our businesses can be sure of the incentives necessary to make investments," Bush said.

Congressional leaders and the White House want the bill to be on the President's desk by February 15. And each day it's tied up in the Senate would likely cause a delay in getting those checks out.

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John Jessup

CBN News Washington Correspondent

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