WASHINGTON, DC — The U.S. House of Representatives and the Senate finally passed an economic stimulus bill last week and President George W. Bush signed it into law on Saturday. The new legislation provides extended unemployment benefits as well as business tax cuts.

Ending several months of debate, the bill offers considerably less than what the president originally wanted. Plus, it comes after a number of signs that economic recovery is already underway. But Bush hailed the legislation in a signing ceremony, saying “We're seeing some encouraging signs in the economy, but we can't stand by and simply hope for continued recovery. We must work for it. We must make sure our recovery continues and gains momentum.”

Called the Job Creation and Worker Assistance Act of 2002, it provides a 13-week extension to the normal 26 weeks of unemployment benefits. “This bill will also stimulate economic growth by extending net operating loss rules and by granting some alternative minimum tax relief,” said the president. In addition, he noted, it “provides over $5 billion in tax relief to aid in the recovery of lower Manhattan by helping businesses to get back on their feet so they can start hiring again.”

This bill was passed by the House last Thursday, passed by the Senate on Friday, and then became law on Saturday. The House had earlier passed three other economic stimulus packages that had all stalled in the Senate.

Publication date: 03/11/2002