Senate Committee Oks Stimulus Package
|January 31, 2008|
The Senate Finance Committee approved a proposed economic stimulus package Wednesday that would expand tax rebates in stimulus legislation approved by the House Tuesday but contains no provision for raising the conforming loan limit.
A full Senate vote on the bill is expected this week. If the bill is passed without further amendments, negotiations between House and Senate leaders to reconcile differences between the two versions of the bill would begin again.
The bill approved by the House in a 385-35 vote Tuesday -- HR 5140, the Recovery Rebates and Economic Stimulus for the American People Act of 2008 -- would provide tax rebates of $600 to $1,200 per working family and about $50 billion in tax breaks for businesses (see Inman News story).
The White House and House Democrats had urged Senate lawmakers not to slow implementation the $146 billion economic stimulus package by amending it to include additional tax cuts or relief measures. But legislation approved Wednesday in a 14-7 vote by the Senate Finance Committee includes amendments such as extending tax rebates to Social Security recipients.
The Senate bill did not include a provision of the House bill to temporarily increase the $417,000 conforming loan limit for loans eligible for purchase by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to 125 percent of the median home price in high-cost areas.
The House bill would also expand Federal Housing Administration loan guarantee programs, which are currently restricted to loans of $362,790 or less, to include mortgages of up to 125 percent of the median home price. Under HR 5140, the new limits for Fannie, Freddie and FHA programs would be capped at $729,750 and expire at the end of the year.
Copyright 2008 Inman News