Archive for the ‘House Senate’ Category

Obama economic plan now tops $900 billion

February 4, 2009

The cost of President Barack Obama‘s economic recovery plan is now above $900 billion after the Senate added money for medical research and tax breaks for car purchases.

It could go higher Wednesday if a tax break for homebuyers is made more generous, even as centrists in both parties promise to clear away spending items that won’t jump-start the economy right away.

In an interview on CNN, Obama signaled a willingness to drop items that “may not really stimulate the economy right now.” He also signaled he’ll try to remove “buy American” provisions in the legislation to avoid a possible trade war.

In a victory for auto manufacturers and dealers, Sen. Barbara Mikulski, D-Md., won a 71-26 vote to allow most car buyers to claim an income tax deduction for sales taxes paid on new autos and interest payments on car loans. The break would cost $11 billion over the coming decade but could mean savings of $1,500 on a $25,000 car.

By ANDREW TAYLOR, Associated Press Writer

“Just as we need to get the housing market going, we need to get auto sales going,” said Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

Wednesday’s session could produce even more generous savings for homebuyers.

Sen. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., is pressing for a tax credit of up to $15,000 for everyone who buys a home this year, at a cost of $18.5 billion. The pending measure would award a $7,500 tax credit only to first-time homebuyers.

At the same time, centrist senators, including Ben Nelson, D-Neb., and Susan Collins, R-Maine, are seeking to cut tens of billions of dollars from the legislation. They’re operating with the blessing of Democratic leaders, who hope a successful effort could attract some GOP votes for Obama’s plan.

Democratic leaders conceded they may soon be obliged to cut billions of dollars from the measure. “It goes without saying if it’s going to pass in the Senate, it has to be bipartisan,” said Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois, the second-ranking Democratic leader, adding that rank-and-file lawmakers in both parties want to reduce the cost of the bill.

In a series of skirmishes Tuesday, the Senate turned back a proposal to add $25 billion for public works projects and voted to remove a $246 million tax break for movie producers. Both moves were engineered by Republicans who are critical of the bill’s size and voice skepticism of its ability to create jobs.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20090204/ap_on_go_co/congress_stimulus

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