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Stimulus bill throws bones to housing

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Debate over the wisdom of the spending and tax breaks included in an $819 billion stimulus bill passed by the House Wednesday is expected to intensify as the legislation moves to the Senate. But Realtors are welcoming the House's treatment of tax breaks for first-time homebuyers and a proposal to restore the higher loan limits in place for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA last year. H.R. 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009, passed the House in a 244-188 vote. While President Barack Obama was hoping the stimulus bill would receive bipartisan support, no Republicans voted for the bill, and 11 Democrats joined the 177 Republicans who voted against it. In general, Republicans are opposed to many of the bill's spending provisions, saying they are wasteful and have little to do with creating jobs -- one of the legislation's stated primary goals. Some Republicans say more tax cuts would be a better way to stimulate the economy and preserve and create jobs. The Nat...