Schumer: Democrats Willing to Give Business Tax Breaks if Middle Class is Included

The centerpiece of an economic aid plan should be a tax cut for the middle class, and the overall proposal could include relief for business and spending incentives for the unemployed, a leading Democratic lawmaker said Sunday.

"I'm not going to draw any lines in the sand," said Sen. Charles Schumer, the New York Democrat who is chairman of the congressional Joint Economic Committee. But he said any plan that does not carefully balance help for people making less than $50,000 with relief for those making $200,000 or more "doesn't make much sense from either a fairness or economic point of view."

President Bush and Democrats in Congress have expressed an interest in working together to pass a plan quickly that could help the struggling economy. The president said Saturday the aid "must be built on broad-based tax relief that will directly affect economic growth — not the kind of spending projects that would have little immediate impact on our economy."

Schumer agreed on the need for fast action.

"Partisan fights and dithering could only make whatever recession we're going to have worse," Schumer said. "There's a real spirit of compromise in Washington right now, a spirit of let's get together, put away the bipartisan differences, because the economy is in poor shape."

Schumer said that in a balanced plan, "the centerpiece would be a tax cut for the middle class and working families, and the bookends might be some business tax cuts as well as some spending stimuli for, say, people who are unemployed."

The lawmaker appeared on "FOX News Sunday."