Thursday, February 5, 2009

Senate Adds Homebuyer Tax Credit to Stimulus Bill

Senators Jeff Sessions and Jim DeMint with Representative Tom Price, all Republicans, criticized the stimulus package.

The New York Times - WASHINGTON — The Senate on Wednesday voted to expand the economic stimulus package with a tax credit for homebuyers of up to $15,000, a provision championed by Republicans as addressing a root cause of the recession.

The vote to add the tax credit, at a cost of about $18.5 billion, came as Senate leaders seemed to be nearing completion of negotiations. The majority leader, Senator Harry Reid of Nevada, suggested that a final vote on the stimulus plan could come on Thursday.

Moderate lawmakers in both parties are pushing to reduce the overall cost of the measure and to focus it more tightly on provisions that will quickly spur spending and create jobs. The vote came as President Obama met with centrist lawmakers to address concerns about the package.

Mr. Obama, while expressing willingness to compromise, also issued a warning to some Republican critics who have said they will press for major changes to the bill, including the removal of many spending programs in favor of wider tax cuts.

Presuming Senate Democrats muscle the bill through, the final legislation must be reconciled with the $820 billion measure approved last week by the House.

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