Two Down, One to Goby Tim Manni
In an unusual Saturday session, Congress passed the housing rescue bill, following the House’s approval last week. The 694-page bill now sits on the desk of the Oval Office, awaiting President Bush’s signature. The White House claims the president could sign the bill into law as early as today.
As the bill stands now, the main components include a $15 billion tax incentive for first-time home buyers and businesses severely affected by the housing crisis, a national licensing system for mortgage brokers and loan officers, nearly $4 billion for communities to buy and repair foreclosed properties, a $300 billion expansion of the FHA – designed to aid troubled homeowners avoid foreclosures, and an undisclosed amount for the Treasury Department to extend to Fannie and Freddie if the time ever comes. The Congressional Budget Office estimated a rescue of Fannie and Freddie could cost up to $25 billion.
According to the New York Times, this bill will raise our national debt ceiling by $800 billion to $10.6 trillion, the first time the limit on national spending has reached 14 digits.
Despite many lawmakers claiming this bill is the largest, most critical legislation to the housing market in decades, the main criticism remains the immense financial liability to taxpayers.