House Passes Stimulus Bill

This evening, the U.S. House of Representative passed H.R. 1, the Economic Recovery Package, by a 244 to 188 vote. The bill contains a number of issues critical to REALTORS® and the industry, including the extension, until the end of 2009, of all Metropolitan Statistical Area’s (MSA’s) 2008 Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan limits. The proposed legislation also will eliminate an existing payback requirement on the first-time homebuyer tax credit for qualified buyers who purchase a home between Dec. 31, 2008 and July 1 this year.

Congress included these provisions as a direct result of the grassroots efforts put forward by REALTORS®, and the advocacy efforts of both NAR and C.A.R. Congress elected not to include numerous housing provisions beyond those previously mentioned. Instead, Congress will address housing issues in other legislation next week when the Financial Services Committee meets.

In addition to tax credits for individuals and married couples, other provisions in the bill include funds for increasing access to high-speed and broadband; highways and roads; railroads; alternative energy incentives; unemployment insurance; Medicaid insurance, health care technology upgrades; childcare; education; and low-income and affordable housing programs. The bill is expected to be voted on by the Senate sometime next week.

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