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Capitol Hill Sources: American Taxpayers may get $600 each to help stimulate economy
Thursday, Jan 24, 2008 8:40pm

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- American taxpayers would get checks of several hundred dollars from the federal government under a plan to stimulate the economy, sources said Thursday.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is the administration's point person for the economic stimulus plan. Congressional leaders of both parties were talking with their membership to sell the plan, sources said.

Sources on Capitol Hill and at the Treasury Department said congressional and White House negotiators agreed upon checks of $600 per individual and $1,200 per couple who paid income tax and who filed jointly.

People who did not pay federal income taxes but who had earned income of more than $3,000 would get checks of $300 per individual or $600 per couple.

A Democratic aide and Republican aide said there will be an additional amount per child, which could be in the neighborhood of $300.

Those who earn up to $75,000 individually or up to $150,000 as a couple will be eligible for the payments, said Republican and Democratic sources familiar with the tentative deal.

Checks could be in taxpayers' mailboxes by June, according to an Associated Press report.

The agreement in principle includes a robust package of business incentives.

The Treasury Department still must analyze the numbers to determine the price tag of the stimulus package, sources said.

To get to the agreement, Democrats dropped calls for increases in food stamps and an extension of unemployment compensation. Republicans agreed to allow people who pay Social Security taxes but not income taxes to get the checks, sources said.

An announcement on the plan could come Thursday afternoon, the two sources said.

Aides in both parties said Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson has been working aggressively in recent days as he tries to make progress before House Republicans head out of Washington for a legislative retreat at the end of the week.

The stimulus package may face resistance from fiscal conservatives in both parties over worries that it would increase the federal debt. The talks are occurring as auditors report that the federal deficit -- the difference between what the government takes in and what it spends -- is increasing.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated Wednesday the deficit would jump to $250 billion, mainly because of a weakening economy. That estimate does not include any additional spending that would be part of a stimulus package.

The proposal is intended to address economic worries stemming from a worldwide credit crunch created by the mortgage crisis and plunging stock markets. The president proposed the package last week. Video Watch a debate on whether the U.S. is heading into a recession

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Officials in both parties credited Paulson, the former Goldman Sachs executive known for a shrewd grasp of the markets, with pushing the package aggressively.

"He's been on the phone with practically every member of Congress -- some of them a few times," one Senate Republican aide said. "He's not fooling around." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNNMoney.com's Jeanne Sahadi and CNN's Ted Barrett, Kate Bolduan, Ed Henry, Lesa Jansen and Deirdre Walsh contributed to this report.

Copyright 2008 CNN. All rights reserved.This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. Associated Press contributed to this report.

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