The 3 members of Vermont’s congressional delegation have different views of the new economic stimulus package that’s being considered in Washington.
The question is whether or not Congress should pass a compromise rebate program now, and then address other economic concerns later.
VPRs Bob Kinzel reports:
(Kinzel) In order to get the White House to support a rebate plan for all low and middle income people, House Democratic leaders agreed to scale back other parts of their stimulus legislation.
Low income individuals would receive a $300 rebate and families with several children would also get $300 for each child.
Middle income people would be eligible for as much as a $600 rebate.
Some key provisions were removed from the bill including efforts to extend unemployment benefits, more money for the food stamp program and billions of dollars for transportation infrastructure projects that are designed to stimulate employment.
Congressman Peter Welch says House leaders have assured him that these proposals will be considered soon in another bill:
(Welch) "So all of us were somewhat disappointed about things that were left out but the bottom line had to be that it was quick that the money went to working families and to small businesses and that we get it done so quickly that it can actually make a difference in the economy."
Senator Bernie Sanders says he’s disappointed with the House approach. He argues that Congress must target new money for many of the items that House leaders took out to reach a compromise with President Bush:
(Sanders) "So what you see is a start in the House in my view it is going to undergo very significant changes here in the Senate we’re going to make it stronger we are going to make it better the goal is to help those people most in need who are then going to spend the money creating a ripple effect on the economy."
Senator Patrick Leahy says he likes the structure of the rebate plan but he wants to add new money for the food stamp program to the legislation:
(Leahy)"But if the package is done soon is temporary and well targeted I think we can help I’d like to see a bill that would provide payroll tax rebates for middle income families we have number of working families that can’t even afford food they’re holding down one two or three jobs they still can’t afford food because of the high prices of gasoline extend food stamps for them."
Backers of the bill say they’re seeking quick congressional action because federal tax officials say it will take roughly 2 months for them to put the rebate program in place.
For VPR News I’m Bob Kinzel in Montpelier.