Mortgage bill advances in Senate
Apr 03,2008 00:00 by UPI
WASHINGTON -- Senate Democrats and Republicans struck an agreement on a bill that would offer aid to people and cities hit hard by the housing slump and mortgage crisis.

The multibillion-dollar compromise could be approved by the Senate as early as Thursday, The Washington Post reported.

The bill would allow a standard property tax deduction of $1,000 for couples and $500 for individuals for tax filers who don't itemize. It also would provide $10 billion in tax-exempt bonds for local housing agencies to refinance subprime loans and offer mortgages for first-time home buyers; $4 billion in grants for local governments to buy foreclosed properties and $100 million for counseling programs for at-risk homeowners.

It would give a $7,000 tax credit to purchasers of foreclosed homes and would permit hard-hit home builders to charge off losses this year and next against taxes paid for the four previous years, up from two. Officials said the proposals would cost taxpayers $15 billion to $20 billion, the Post said.

"We helped Wall Street. We're all glad that Bear Stearns was taken care of," Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., said Wednesday. "But now it's our opportunity to take care of people on Main Street."

Copyright © 2008, by United Press International. All Rights Reserved.