Congress at odds over checks for elderly

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WASHINGTON (AP) _ The Senate moved toward a partisan clash Wednesday over Democrats’ efforts to add more than $40 billion in checks for the elderly, disabled veterans and the unemployed, and heating aid for the poor to a House-passed economic aid plan.

Democrats were struggling to find enough GOP support to advance the package over the objections of Republican leaders, who have called instead for sticking with a much narrower House plan costing $161 billion over the next two years. The White House urged the Senate this week to pass that measure “without delay.”

“We started out united behind a proposal to help struggling taxpayers and stimulate the economy. Now some are insisting on a plan that might not even be signed into law,” said Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., the Republican leader.

The House plan would send rebates of $600-$1,200 to about 111 million Americans who receive paychecks of $3,000 or more, plus an additional $300 per child, with less available to individuals with income in excess of $75,000 and couples making more than $150,000. The Senate version has checks of $500-$1,000 for a broader group that includes 20 million seniors and 250,000 disabled veterans, and taxpayers making up to $150,000 – or $300,000 for individuals.