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$15,000 homebuyer credit cut in compromise

Stimulus package may restore higher loan limits

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A proposal to provide a $15,000 tax credit to homebuyers was stripped from a $789 billion economic stimulus package that appears headed for a vote Friday, but a restoration of higher loan limits for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and FHA loan guarantee programs appears to have made the cut. The $15,000 homebuyer tax credit -- included in an $838 billion economic stimulus bill passed by the Senate Tuesday (see story) -- was scaled back to $8,000 and limited to first-time homebuyers as part of a compromise between Democrats and Republicans. The Congressional Budget Office estimated the larger tax credit would have cost $35.5 billion, a price tag that proved too tough to swallow in conference committee negotiations where differences between House and Senate versions of H.R. 1, The American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 were ironed out. Instead, the compromise bill falls back on language approved by the House Jan. 28 (see story), which would have eliminated the repayment requirem...