By Brian Faler
Nov. 4 (Bloomberg) — The U.S. Senate approved a $45 billion plan to expand a tax credit for first-time homebuyers, extend jobless benefits and provide tax refunds to money-losing companies.
Lawmakers voted 98-0 for the measure, sending it to the House, where Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Maryland said in a statement it will receive a vote as early as tomorrow. The bill then would be forwarded to President Barack Obama for his signature.
The plan would be the first major extension of provisions in February’s economic stimulus plan. The $8,000 homebuyers’ tax credit, slated to expire this month, would continue until April 30 and be expanded to include people with higher incomes and some who already own homes. That would cost about $10 billion in the fiscal year that began Oct. 1, according to Congress’s Joint Committee on Taxation.
The Treasury Department estimates that more than 1.4 million Americans have taken advantage of the homebuyer credit at a cost so far of about $10 billion.
The Senate plan would allow homebuyers who have lived in their residence at least five years to receive a $6,500 credit. Couples earning as much as $225,000 a year and individuals earning up to $125,000 would qualify. That is up from the current $75,000 limit for individuals and $150,000 for couples.
Those buying homes worth more than $800,000 wouldn’t be eligible for the credit. Those who sell their new home or stop using it as their main residence within three years would have to repay the credit.
Last Updated: November 4, 2009 18:03 EST
(Excerpts taken from www.bloomberg.com)
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