Congressional leaders and the White House have forged a deal to stimulate the U.S. economy by offering tax filers refunds of $600-1,200.
As part of the agreement reached today, refunds will go out to approximately 116 million families, according to the Associated Press. Individual tax filers are eligible for $600, while joint-filers are eligible for $1,200. Families with children will also be eligible for an extra $300 per child.
The refunds are expected to go out sometime in late May or June.
Congressman Jerry McNerney, D-Pleasanton, said he was pleased that Democrats and Republicans were able to reach a compromise. He added he is especially satisfied with the stimulus package's plan to raise the limits on Federal Housing Administration loans and housing mortgages.
"I'm particularly pleased that the conforming loan limit will be raised--an issue I raised with the Speaker (Nancy Pelosi, D-San Francisco) directly," he said. "Raising that limit will mean more people throughout California will have lower-interest loans, helping stabilize the real estate market and allowing more people to refinance into lower interest rate mortgages."
As McNerney and mayors in the Tri-Valley announced Wednesday that the congressman will also seek $2.6 million in federal money to fund the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center in Livermore so the center can help homeowners facing foreclosure with such things as buying down their interest rate, refinancing or going with a preferred mortgage lender.
Democrats in Washington, while in support of the stimulus plan, weren't happy about having to give some concessions to reach a compromise. A bid for increases in food stamps was dropped and Democrats have also expressed disappointment that the refunds won't aid the unemployed--only those who file taxes based on income.
"The package isn't perfect," McNerney said. "I would have liked to have seen an unemployment insurance extension and incentives for renewable energy job creation. But so many people across the 11th District are facing difficult economic times, it is critical that a bipartisan agreement has been reached and that we move as quickly as we can to stimulate the economy and prevent any further economic downturn."
Sen. Dianne Feinstein agreed, saying the stimulus package is a "good start and is urgently needed."
"Americans are being squeezed by a series of economic forces, including a volatile stock market and the fallout from the subprime mortgage crisis," she said. "But more needs to be done. This measure will be debated in the Senate next month, and we need to ensure that it includes provisions targeted to help the neediest of Americans."