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February 10th, 2009

Let the Negotiations Begin

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The Senate approved their version of the stimulus bill this afternoon, sending the over-$800 billion plan to a series of negotiations before it can be signed into law.

To give you a better understanding of what the final legislation may look like, let’s break down the similarities and differences between the House and the Senate’s version (with a little help from CNNMoney’s Jeanne Sahadi).

Republican Support: While the House’s version received not one GOP vote, the Senate’s draft was supported by three Republicans (Susan Collins and Olympia J. Snowe of Maine, and Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania).

Total Costs: The House’s bill totaled out at approximately $820 billion — with about $182 billion in tax cuts and another $638 billion in other spending measures. The Senate’s bill peaked at around $838 billion — utilizing $293 billion in tax relief, and another $546 billion in other spending (the increase in tax cuts makes a decent argument of why the Senate’s version may have gained that Republican support).

Education: The House’s version of the bill contained far more spending allocated for education. The Senate’s contained no funding for “K-12 construction and improvements to higher education facilities,” (House reserved $20 billion) and pledged $1.7 billion less for Federal college grants.

Similarities: Despite differing in the details, both chambers included President Obama’s “Make Work Pay” credit, disagreeing only on the income thresholds needed to receive the full credit (House= $75,000 or less per individual, $150,000 or less per couple; the Senate eased limits to $70,000 and $140,000).

There was also significant agreement in terms of Business Tax Breaks:

The House and Senate both included a measure that would expand businesses’ ability to write off their losses, but the Senate provision is somewhat more generous.

Senate Bill Only:

In some cases, the Senate contains measures that don’t appear in the House bill. Among them, three tax amendments. One would protect middle- and upper middle-income families from having to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax. Two others offer new temporary tax breaks for individuals who buy a home or car this year.

When (or if) a final version is agreed upon, you can be sure we’ll provide a full breakdown of what each measure will mean to you.

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One Response to “Let the Negotiations Begin”

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HSH.com's daily blog focuses on the latest developments in the mortgage and housing markets. Our mission is to relate how changes in mortgage rates and housing policy, as well as the latest financial news, impacts consumers, homebuyers and industry insiders alike. Our 30-plus years of experience in the mortgage industry gives us an edge as we break down the latest changes in an ever-changing market.

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