Thursday, February 7, 2008

Chambliss, Isakson Praise Passage of Economic Stimulus Legislation

U.S. Senators Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga., and Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., today praised final passage of the House-passed economic stimulus bill that is designed to boost the nation’s economy by issuing rebate checks to taxpayers and by providing employers greater incentives to invest and create jobs.

The economic stimulus legislation passed by the Senate, H.R.5140, also includes an amendment supported by Chambliss and Isakson to prevent illegal immigrants from obtaining a rebate check by requiring a valid Social Security number to claim the rebate and the per-child bonus. Additionally, the amendment ensures that senior citizens, disabled veterans and widows of disabled veterans receive rebate checks by counting Social Security benefits and VA disability payments towards the $3,000 earned income test.

“The public is looking to Congress to quickly jump start our sluggish economy, and I am pleased our colleagues were able to reach a bipartisan agreement to move this legislation forward and get money into the hands of those who need it,” said Chambliss. “However, illegal immigrants should not be the beneficiaries of this package, and I am pleased the Senate fixed this particular language.”

“This legislation is strategic and surgical. It puts money in the hands of the consumer, it advances both expensing and depreciation to small business and it partially addresses the mortgage industry problem by raising Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA limits,” Isakson said. “Now, Congress must turn its focus to more long-term steps to stabilize the economy. This includes taking steps to boost the housing market, to reduce the federal deficit, to revamp the federal budget process by sticking to spending priorities and pursuing fundamental changes to our tax system.”

Under H.R.5140, rebate checks would start at $300 for people who had an earned income of at least $3,000 during 2007. Depending on their incomes, single taxpayers could receive a maximum of $600 while married couples could receive a maximum of $1,200. The benefit would phase out for single people earning more than $75,000 a year and married couples earning more than $150,000. The amount of the tax rebate would increased by $300 for each child under the age of 17, with no limit on the number of children.

In addition, the legislation would allow companies to write off more than half the cost of certain purchases made in 2008, instead of depreciating them over a longer period. Small businesses would receive more generous deductions for equipment purchases. The bill also would increase the maximum loan limit for government-sponsored enterprises such as Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae from $417,000 up to $729,750, and would increase the loan limits for the Federal Housing Administration from $362,000 up to $729,750.

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