Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Senate Combines Jobless Benefits, Homebuyer Credit

While still recovering from a failed attempt to extend unemployment benefits last week, Senate Democrats are working on a new bill that would combine the unemployment benefit extension with an extension of the homebuyer’s credit.

Sponsors of the legislation have said it aims to create more jobs and support the struggling real estate market. As this article from the Associated Press claims, Democrats are going to need to get a handful of Republicans on board if they want the bill to pass the Senate.

Under current law, homebuyers who signed purchase agreements by April 30 must close on their new homes by Wednesday to qualify for credits of up to $8,000. The bill would give those buyers until Sept. 30 to complete the purchases and qualify for the credit.

Democrats hope to pick up Republican support for the bill by combining the two provisions. They have been trying for weeks to pass an extension of unemployment benefits as part of a larger tax and spending package, but the larger bill died in the Senate last week.

Without an extension, unemployment payments would continue to be phased out for more than 200,000 people a week.

Many Democrats see the benefits as insurance against the economy sliding back into recession. Many Republicans, however, worry that adding nearly $34 billion to the budget deficit will only contribute to the nation's economic problems.

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