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Washington
Housing stimulus OKd 84-12 by Senate
WASHINGTON (4/11/08)—Voting 84 to 12, the Senate passed its housing stimulus package Thursday clearing the way for the House and Senate to begin working out differences between their two versions of similar legislation. The Senate bill, known as The Foreclosure Prevention Act of 2008, would provide $4 billion to cities for the purchase and rehabilitation of foreclosed properties and almost another $13 billion in targeted tax breaks to spur additional home buying and ease the troubles of the housing industry. It also would authorize $200 million for housing counselors to help families about to lose their homes to foreclosure. The Credit Union National Association supports a higher allocation for housing counseling and will be working to encourage the House to increase that level before the bill gets final approval by both houses of Congress. The package contains a limited FHA reform provision, but both Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.) and House Financial Services Committee Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.) have indicated they want more. Dodd favors adding loan guarantees of up to $400 billion and Frank wants the FHA to be able to back mortgages worth more than the value of the home if the lender takes a substantial loss. While press reports just a day earlier declared that President George W. Bush might veto the housing stimulus package, Congressional Quarterly reported Thursday that the president had softened his stance and may be eager to receive a final version of the bill he can sign.


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