April 1st, 2009 3:08 PM by
The Senate on Wednesday voted to expand the economic stimulus package called the "Responsible Homeowners Act" 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 tax break for homebuyers, which the Senate approved by voice vote without opposition, was the second amendment in two days intended to encourage consumers to make major purchases.
The tax credit would give buyers 10 percent of the price of a primary residence bought within one year, up to $15,000, and is intended to stabilize plummeting home prices, which caused a wave of foreclosures and led to the near collapse of the financial system as Wall Street firms wrote down billions in mortgage-backed assets.
With Wednesday’s additions, the cost of the Senate package has climbed well above $900 billion — the limit that Mr. Obama has set for the final legislation.
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