U.S. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson on Wednesday repeated his view that the U.S. economy will avoid recession this year and grow at a slower pace, and that the Treasury will act quickly to distribute tax rebate payments.
Paulson also said the Internal Revenue Service would simultaneously manage the spring tax filing season and preparations for issuing the rebate payments starting in early May.
"The U.S. economy is diverse and resilient, and our long-term fundamentals are healthy. I believe our economy will continue to grow, although at a slower pace than we have seen in recent years," Paulson said in prepared testimony to the House Budget Committee.
"Payments will be largely completed this summer, putting cash in the hands of millions of Americans at a time when our economy is experiencing slower growth," he said.
"Together, the payments to individuals and the incentives for businesses will help create more than half a million jobs by the end of this year."
Signed, Sealed ... Soon to Be Delivered
President Bush on Wednesday signed the economic package, which allows for $300 to $1,200 rebates for many American households.
Bush called the measure "a booster shot for our economy" to stave off a recession.
Several dozen members of Congress, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, stood on the stage behind Bush as he signed the bill.
Rebates are to go out beginning in May to taxpayers and low-income people, including seniors living off of Social Security and veterans who depend on disability checks.
Businesses would get tax breaks for investing in new plants and equipment.
Most taxpayers will receive a check of up to $600 for individuals and $1,200 for couples from the Internal Revenue Service, with an additional $300 per child.
People earning at least $3,000 and those who owe little or no taxes would get $300 for singles, $600 for couples. Those making more than $75,000 and couples with income exceeding $150,000 are to get smaller rebates -- $50 less per $1,000 they make over those thresholds.