Washington, D.C. House Democratic and Republican leaders appeared close to agreement with the White House Wednesday night on a significantly reworked package of emergency tax cuts to jolt the economy out of its slump.
At a Wednesday evening meeting, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi made major concessions to drop increases in food stamp and unemployment benefits in exchange for tax rebates of at least $300 for all people earning a paycheck, including low-income earners who make too little to pay income taxes. Families with children would receive an additional $300 per child, while those paying income taxes could receive higher rebates as well, a senior House aide said.
Pelosi, D-Calif., and House Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, had yet to reach agreement on a package of tax breaks for businesses after estimates showed a tentative agreement could exceed $70 billion, far more than had been expected, the aide and a Democratic lobbyist said.
Lawmakers learned during the day that the government's deficit already would swell to $250 billion this year because of falling corporate tax revenues - then they signaled they were willing to balloon it higher by more than $100 billion with a stimulus package.