Comment After Senate Passage Wednesday Night Of The Bill To Extend Unemployment Insurance And To Continue The Homebuyer Tax Credit

[After ending a Republican filibuster on the bill earlier in the day, in a vote of 98 to 0, the U.S. Senate Wednesday night approved legislation to:  1) extend unemployment insurance by up to 14 additional weeks for jobless workers across the nation; 2) continue the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit through April 30, 2010, but with 60 days to close after that date; 3) provide a $6,500 credit to new purchasers who have lived in their current residences for five or more years; and 4) extend and expand the carry back provision to allow all businesses to carry back losses incurred in 2008 or 2009 for five years.  The bill also includes other measures to strengthen the economic recovery, as well as offsets to ensure the measure is fully paid for.  The House has passed similar legislation, but because the bills are not identical, they will go next to a House-Senate conference to iron out the differences.  Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) cosponsored and voted for passage of the bill.]

“By extending unemployment benefits, the homebuyer tax credit, and business tax relief, this bill will help many Vermont families and businesses that are struggling through this recession.  There is a clear need to lengthen the lifeline to jobless families and to continue these proven methods of strengthening the economic recovery.   

“With nearly two million American workers all across the country facing expiring unemployment benefits by the end of the year, this targeted relief will extend unemployment insurance for jobless workers in all 50 states.  This program is a vital safety net for workers who have lost their jobs.

“The homebuyer tax credit already has helped more than a million families buy their first homes.  Extending and improving the credit will open the door to thousands more.  This will help shrink the surplus of housing and help stabilize home values for all homeowners.  

“Vermont businesses are hurting, and the tax relief in this bill allows them offset some of their losses.  This will help many businesses weather the storm and retain their employees.”

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