Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Van Hollen Supports Stimulus

Chris Van Hollen issued the following statement:

“Madam Speaker, I rise in support of this stimulus package for the relief it provides to over 117 million American families and the timely boost it delivers to our slowing economy.

“Let’s be clear: As a product of genuine bipartisan compromise, this legislation does not contain everything one might have included in a stimulus package. For example, I support — and I hope the President will accept — the Senate’s proposal to extend the relief in this package to low-income seniors and people with disabilities. That being said, this legislation proposes to put $145 billion into the hands of those who will use it to strengthen our economy, and it deserves our support today.

“The centerpiece of this package is tax relief in the form of rebates of up to $600 for individuals and $1200 for married couples — with an additional $300 available for every dependent child. Importantly, it extends relief to 35 million hard-working families who make too little to pay federal income taxes but do pay payroll, sales, property and other taxes. These rebates will generate $1.26 in economic activity for every dollar we put back into the economy.

“The package before us also encourages business investment by doubling the amount small businesses can expense for capital investments made in 2008 and by allowing all businesses to immediately write off 50 percent of depreciable plants and equipment purchased in 2008. Finally, it assists those facing foreclosure by increasing Federal Housing Administration (FHA) loan limits to $729,750 in 2008, and it provides greater liquidity to the mortgage market by temporarily increasing loan limits for single family homes at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from $417,000 to a maximum of $729,750.

“For this initiative to be meaningful, it must be timely. Therefore, while I agree with many of the additional elements being discussed by the Senate, such as an appropriate extension of unemployment insurance for those who need it, we must not let prolonged arguments over these items delay swift enactment of the stimulus our economy so clearly needs.

“If additional steps prove necessary, we will of course stand ready to act. But for today, I urge my colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support this bipartisan agreement, and I yield back the balance of my time.