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Last Updated: Thursday, 24 January 2008, 21:31 GMT
Deal reached on US economic plan
Capitol Hill, Washington DC
US lawmakers are working on a $150bn plan to boost the economy
The White House and the Democrats in Congress have agreed a $150bn (76bn) economic stimulus package that will offer tax rebates to boost growth.

House of Representatives Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Congress would act on the deal "at the earliest date, so those rebate cheques will be in the mail".

Some 117 million US homes will receive a rebate of up to $600 for individuals and up to $1,200 for married couples.

Washington is moving fast to try to avoid the US falling into a recession.

I can't say that I'm totally pleased with the package, but I do know that it will help stimulate the economy
Democrats' Nancy Pelosi

Couples with children will also get an extra $300 per child.

The tax rebates for households should total $100bn, while businesses will benefit from up to $50bn of tax cuts.

"Because the country needs this boost to the economy now, I urge the House and the Senate to enact this economic growth agreement into law as soon as possible," said President George W Bush.

Property slump

The agreement comes two days after the Federal Reserve slashed US interest rates to 3.5% from 4.25%, its biggest cut in 25 years.

Economists say the package needs to be put into action as soon as possible, before it is too late to help the economy.

"I can't say that I'm totally pleased with the package, but I do know that it will help stimulate the economy," said the Democratic Party's Ms Pelosi.

"But if it does not, then there will be more to come."

House Republican leader John Boehner, Ms Pelosi and Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson met for more than five hours on Wednesday to forge the agreement.

The US has been hit by a slump in the property market and a credit crisis caused by banks investing in assets backed by sub-prime mortgages.

Some politicians are worried about the damage the plan will do to government finances.

It could potentially double last year's budget deficit of $163bn.

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



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