President Bush and leaders of Congress joined in a rare show of cooperation in promising urgent action to pump up the economy with upward of $150 billion in tax cuts and government spending.
"I've got reasonable expectations about how fast something can happen," the president said. "But I'm also optimistic something will happen."
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid said the goal was to get a deal through Congress and on Bush's desk within about three weeks.
Administration officials are focusing on rebates of $800 to $1,600 for individuals and couples and so-called bonus depreciation to allow companies to deduct 50 percent of business investments made this year. Democrats say the package also should include boosts in unemployment benefits, food stamp payments and the Medicaid health care program for the poor and disabled. Talks between House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., and Minority Leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, have focused on smaller tax rebates of perhaps $500 for individuals.