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Stimulus bill restores Fannie, Freddie, FHA limits

Tax credit, other housing programs reduced in compromise bill

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Congress today approved a $790 billion economic stimulus bill that includes a modest expansion of a first-time homebuyer tax credit and restores to $729,750 the upper loan limit in high-cost areas for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan guarantee programs.Voting along party lines -- no House Republicans supported the bill, and only three voted for Senate passage -- lawmakers are approved nearly $1 trillion in new spending and tax cuts championed by the Obama administration as needed to save or create 3 million to 4 million jobs. The vote in the House was 246-183, with seven Democrats voting no, while the 60 votes needed to clear procedural hurdles in the Senate came with the support of Republicans Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania and Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins of Maine. Democrat Sherrod Brown cast the deciding vote to make the bill law when he returned from a trip to Ohio Friday evening. Brown had returned to his home state where his mother died this week. Obama was expected to sig...