House Passes Bill Extending Unemployment Benefits, Homebuyer Tax Credit


WASHINGTON, DC – November 6, 2009 – (RealEstateRama) — Thursday, the U.S. House of Representatives passed H.R. 3548, the Worker, Homeownership and Business Assistance Act of 2009, to provide up to 14 additional weeks of unemployment for jobless workers, with an extra six weeks for those in high unemployment states such as Michigan who have or soon will run out of benefits. The bill, which passed the U.S. Senate on Wednesday, will now go to the president to be signed into law.

Congressman Stupak was not present for the vote in order to attend funeral services for his mother-in-law, Elaine Olsen. However, Stupak voted in favor of the bill in September when it originally passed the House. The current bill reflects changes made in the Senate, including the inclusion of a 13-month extension of the first-time homebuyer tax credit.

“With 4,602 people in the First District scheduled to run out of unemployment insurance benefits by the end of the year, this bill is critical to providing much-needed relief to those who are out of work as they continue trying to find jobs,” Stupak said. “Individuals receiving these extended benefits will be able to put more money back into the local economy buying groceries, filling up their gas tanks and paying mortgages on time. We are continuing work to turn our economy around, but this bill provides critical relief for Michigan families until these efforts fully take hold.”

Under H.R. 3548 workers in all states will receive 14 additional weeks of unemployment benefits. The bill also targets those states with three-month average unemployment rates above 8.5 percent. Michigan’s three-month average rate is at 15.2 percent, making Michigan residents eligible for an additional six weeks of benefits on top of the 14 week extension.

This legislation serves a dual role of providing critical unemployment benefits, while also helping to stimulate the local economy. A recent study found that every dollar spent on unemployment benefits generates $1.63 in new economic demand.

H.R. 3548 also strengthens the domestic housing market by extending the $8,000 first-time homebuyer tax credit through April 30, 2010, allowing purchasers under a binding contract an additional 60 days to close after that date. The bill expands the credit to allow a $6,500 credit to purchasers of new homes who have lived in their current residence for five years.

It also helps members of the Armed Services by ensuring payments under the Defense House Assistance Program to assist military personnel selling a home that has declined in value are exempt from tax and that service members will not have to repay the first-time homebuyer tax credit if they are ordered to deploy to a different location, forcing them to sell their home within three years

Contact: Michelle Begnoche
(202) 225-4735


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