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Senate Passes Improved Economic Stimulus Package

House Expected to Expedite Passage to Allow Bill to be Signed into Law

February 7, 2008

Washington, D.C. —  Senator John Thune today made the following comments after passage of an Economic Stimulus bill in the U.S. Senate. The Senate agreed to the bill by a vote of 81 to 16.

"After days of stalling by the Democrat Leadership, the Senate passed an economic stimulus package with important improvements to the bill (H.R. 5140) passed by the U.S. House of Representatives on January 31st. Over 50,000 South Dakota seniors who would not be covered by the House-passed bill will be eligible for rebates under the Senate version. I expect the House to overwhelmingly approve the Senate package, which will ensure that President Bush can sign the measure into law to provide needed relief to the American people and our economy.

"The Senate-passed stimulus bill expands rebates to veterans and veterans' widows as well as prohibiting rebate checks for illegal immigrants.

"The economic stimulus bill has the potential to put money back in the hands of families and consumers while at the same time providing tax relief to small businesses across South Dakota and the country. I am pleased that the Senate rejected attempts to add unnecessary provisions to the stimulus package and recognized that the fastest way to get a stimulus package to the President is to agree on the provisions contained in this bill."

A summary of the bill follows.

Targeted Consumer Tax Rebates:
  • Individuals earning less than $75,000 will receive a rebate check of $600.
  • Married couples earning less than $150,000 will receive a rebate check of $1,200.
  • Families with children will receive a $300 rebate for each child.
  • The Senate bill would also allow Social Security and veterans benefits to count towards the income requirements.
    • In South Dakota, the Senate package will help 102,921 South Dakota seniors relative to only 51,562 South Dakota seniors who qualified for rebate checks under the House-passed stimulus package.
    • Nationwide, it is estimated that 20 million more seniors and 250,000 more veterans and veterans widows would benefit from the Senate stimulus package.
  • The Senate bill would also improve on the House-passed bill by prohibiting illegal immigrants from receiving rebate checks.

Meaningful Small Business Tax Relief:
  • The Senate package increases Section 179 Expensing limitations to $250,000 from the current $128,000, up to an overall annual investment limit of $800,000 from the current $510,000.

  • The Senate stimulus package allows for a 50 percent "bonus" tax deduction on new equipment in the year it is placed in service. Eligible property must have a depreciable life of 20 years or less.

Housing Market Stabilization:
  • In response to the subprime mortgage crisis, the Senate stimulus bill, increases the maximum value of conforming loans that may be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from $417,000 up to $729,750. The Senate bill also increases Federal Housing Administration loan limits from $362,000 to $633,500.