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US House passes $146 bln aid package to taxpayers

The US House overwhelmingly passed a $146 billion aid package Tuesday that would speed rebates of $600-1,200 to most taxpayers, sending a stimulus package to the Senate with a bipartisan appeal to senators not to slow the bill with significant changes.

The plan, approved 385-35 after little debate, would send at least some rebate to anyone with at least $3,000 in income, with more going to families with children and less going to wealthier taxpayers. It faced a murky future in the Senate, though, where Democrats and some Republicans backed a larger package that adds billions of dollars for senior citizens and the unemployed, and shrinks the rebate to $500 for individuals and $1,000 for couples. That plan, written by Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus, would deliver checks even to the richest taxpayers, who are disqualified under the House-passed measure. Both versions would provide tax breaks to businesses to spur equipment and other purchases. President George Bush and House leaders urged the Senate to take the bipartisan agreement and pass it quickly, even as Max Baucus, D-Mont., planned a Wednesday vote in his committee on a larger package that could face a slower path. (