Last week the House of Representatives passed its version of the stimulus package; on Tuesday, the Senate passed its version.Â Yesterday, the two groups announced they have reached a compromise and are expected to vote on the package this week.Â President Obama has urged lawmakers to present him with the bill prior to Presidentâ€™s Day, which is Monday, Feb. 16.
It is likely that the final stimulus bill will closely resemble that of the Senateâ€™s approved version, due to the number of votes needed.Â The Senate version garnered three Republican votes, while the Houseâ€™s version did not receive support from any Republicans.Â If the package is too different than that of the Senateâ€™s, the bill may not be passed.
Some of the provisions under consideration are a $500 credit per worker and a $1,000 credit per dual-earner couple to be paid to people making $70,000 or less; a one-year provision to protect middle- and upper-middle-income families from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax; a temporary tax credit to allow those who buy a car in 2009 to deduct the interest they pay on their car loan as well as the sales tax charged in the purchase; a $2,500 credit for higher education expenses; as well as health care, unemployment, and needy family provisions.
Another provision under consideration is a temporary $15,000 tax credit for home buyers.Â This would double the size of the existing temporary home-buyer credit, eliminate the first-time home buyer restriction, and remove the requirement that the credit be paid back.Â The CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSÂ® (C.A.R.) and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORSÂ® (NAR) are lobbying for this provisionâ€™s inclusion in the final bill.
The House version of the stimulus package also contained a provision to increase the Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and FHA loan limits in every county in the state to 2008 levels.Â C.A.R. has long advocated for higher conforming loan limits, and believes this stimulus package is a step in the right direction for Californiaâ€™s homeowners.Â If approved, the conforming loan limits in high-cost areas would be increased from $625,500 to $729,750, enabling more home buyers to purchase at favorable interest rates.