The Senate voted tonight to give a tax break of up to $15,000 to homebuyers in hopes of revitalizing the housing industry. The move is a victory for Republicans eager to leave their mark on the mammoth economic stimulus bill. The proposal would allow a tax credit of 10 percent of the value of new or existing residences, up to a $15,000 limit. Current law provides for a $7,500 tax break but only for first-time homebuyers.
Democrats readily agreed to the proposal, estimated to cost $19 billion, although it may be changed or even deleted as the stimulus measure makes its way through Congress. Democratic leaders have pledged to have legislation ready for President Obama's signature by the end of next week. Earlier today, Obama warned that failure to act quickly "will turn crisis into a catastrophe and guarantee a longer recession."