White House, Congress agree on economic stimulus package
( dpa )- US President George W Bush and congressional leaders agreed Thursday to a legislative package that includes tax rebates designed to boost the slumping economy.
Bush and Democratic and Republican lawmakers reached a deal on a short-term, 140-billion-dollar tax cut as the housing market crisis coupled with high energy prices and a rise in unemployment sparked worries a recession was on the way.
The legislation, which still must be approved by the Senate and House of Representatives, would provide each US taxpayer a rebate of 600 to 1,200 dollars to encourage spending and investment, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said.
Pelosi said she wants to bring the measure to a vote as soon as possible.
Bush endorsed taking quick measures last week amid increasing signs of a slowdown and urged Congress to speedily come up with legislation he could sign. He called for a tax cut equivalent to 1 per cent of the country's gross domestic product.
The flagging economy has caused a dip in consumer confidence and prompted turmoil on Wall Street, where stocks dropped sharply last week before showing some signs recovery over the last few days.
The Federal Reserve slashed the interest rate by three quarters of a percentage point to 3.5 per cent during an emergency board meeting on Tuesday and is expected to reduce it again at the end of the month.