House Passes Economic Stimulus

The House has just passed H.R. 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act by a vote of 385-35-1, a bipartisan economic stimulus legislation to help hardworking Americans who are struggling with the high costs of gas, health care and groceries, and to jumpstart our slowing economy. The bill would put hundreds of dollars into the hands of 117 million American families — who will spend it immediately to reinvigorate the economy. It will provide tax relief of up to $600 per individual and $1,200 per married couple, plus an additional $300 per child. Recovery rebate checks could be sent as early as mid-May, getting money to Americans who will spend it immediately to reinvigorate the economy. For 2008, the bill increases the FHA loan limits up to $729,750, to expand affordable mortgage loan opportunities for families at risk of foreclosure through the Federal Housing Administration. To enhance credit availability in the mortgage market, the measure includes a one-year increase in the loan limits for single family homes from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from $417,000 up to $729,750 for 2008.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi:

Speaker Pelosi: “Previous stimulus packages did not have a cap on who received the rebate… and so therefore a lot of money went into the hands of people who never really spent it and injected that into the economy. But this is timely, we’re acting very quickly — not hastily — but quickly and firmly, in a disciplined way on a package that has as its one criterion for anything that’s in the package: is it stimulus? Is it stimulus and does it meet the test of enabling us to move ina timely fashion that is targeted and temporary?”

Chairman Barney Frank of the Financial Services Committee:

Chairman Frank: “Mr. Speaker, what’s in this stimulus package is, a good bill, not enough, but I believe it is important to move it. I say not enough because the Committee on Financial Services has been dealing particularly with the subprime crisis and trouble that’s generated. We have in this stimulus package by agreement between both sides here and the Administration some things that will be very helpful. There are further things that are important that are not in this package and no one should think that because they are not in this package we are not going to go and deal with them. And as soon as this is done today, the staff of the Committee on Financial Services will be working closely, we’ll be in consultation with the Senate and others, on a broader set of measures that will both diminish the economic problems that the subprime crisis causes and also try to deal with the distress that results. Let me talk today about what we do…”

Chairman Charlie Rangel of the Ways and Means Committee:

Chairman Rangel: “I submit to you, Mr. Speaker, that we are talking about the heart of America, hard-working middle class people that are now being targeted because they can’t afford to take care of their families. Yes, they have to spend the money. To put food on the table, put shoes on their kids’ feet, put clothing on their back, to pay for shelter. And I submit that we shouldn’t walk away from this House, because we are giving economic assistance, proud of the fact that millions of people in this country find themselves in that predicament and for that the Congress cannot be charged. And I do hope after we finish going through this bipartisan effort, which we have to do, that we might find some way to tell these people that we are going to provide relief without considering a stimulus, but we are going to provide relief because it’s the right thing to do.”
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