President Bush called for an economic stimulus plan that includes tax breaks for individuals and businesses.
"To keep our economy growing and creating jobs, Congress and the administration need to work to enact an economic growth package as soon as possible," he said in remarks at the White House.
The tax breaks for individuals would likely come in the form of rebates, although the president did not specify the amount. In talks with congressional leaders, he has reportedly been considering rebates of $800 for individuals and $1,600 for households. "Americans could use this money as they see fit - to help meet their monthly bills, cover higher costs at the gas pump, or pay for other basic necessities," he said.
Bush also wants the package to provide tax relief for business, including small businesses, to make investments. He noted that for the stimulus package to be effective, it should amount to at least 1 percent of the gross domestic product. According to Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, that would equate to between $140 billion and $150 billion.
Bush has been talking with congressional leaders about how to craft the package. He has also called on them to extend the tax cuts that are set to expire in 2010, but has not made that a condition of the economic stimulus package, which is intended for short-term effect.
"By passing an effective growth package quickly, we can provide a shot in the arm to keep a fundamentally strong economy healthy," he said.