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Federal rebate checks will begin going out Monday

President Bush says the economic-stimulus tax rebates will begin going out Monday and will help people cope with lofty energy and food prices, as well as giving the economy a jolt.

The rebates range from $300 to $1,200 and are the centerpiece of the government's $168 billion stimulus package, enacted in February, to brace the teetering economy. Roughly 130 million households are expected to get them.

"This money is going to help Americans offset the high prices we're seeing at the gas pump, at the grocery store, and will also give our economy a boost to help us pull out of this economic slowdown," Bush said Friday in brief remarks at the White House.

Bush estimated that next week nearly 7.7 million Americans will receive their tax rebates by direct deposit. The IRS will start mailing checks on May 9, the president said.

The IRS says all checks for those who filed tax returns on time are scheduled to be deposited or mailed by July 11.

The Bush administration is hoping that people will spend the money, helping to bolster the economy.

"It's obvious our economy is in a slowdown," Bush said.