Senator Claire McCaskill (D-MO) hopes a $150 billion package can stimulate a sagging economy, though she has some concerns about it. McCaskill says the main feature of the package, $600 per person checks, plus $300 per child, should provide a big boost to the economy, especially if that money gets into the hands of the less fortunate.
McCaskill says Congress has heard from economists who say studies indicate that the poor and lower income Americans will spend the money sooner, getting it into the economy. McCaskill rejects criticism that the plan gives rebates to those who don’t pay taxes, meaning income taxes. She responds that everyone pays taxes of some kind and deserves a piece of the proposal.
The U.S. House is on the verge of approving it. The Senate is considering adding Social Security recipients. The AARP complains that the House package leaves out 20 million seniors. Senate leadership also says the package should consider extending unemployment benefits. A plan being floated would extend unemployment benefits by 13 weeks, 26 weeks where the unemployment rate exceeds six percent.
McCaskill worries about how Congress will pay for it. She actually believes it won’t. McCaskill says President Bush believes the package will pay for itself through tax revenues from economic activity.
The goal, says McCaskill, is getting the bill to President Bush by the February 18 th , "In order for this stimulus package to be very targeted, very temporary and very timely."