President Obama today signed into law bills extending the closing deadline for claiming the federal homebuyer tax credit and temporarily reinstating the National Flood Insurance Program.

HR 5623, the Homebuyer Assistance and Improvement Act of 2010, gives homebuyers who were under contract by April 30 until Sept. 30 to close their home purchase and claim the federal homebuyer tax credit, if they meet other eligibility requirements.

Real estate and lending industry groups said thousands of homebuyers would have missed the original closing deadline of June 30 because they were waiting for bank approval of short sales, or coping with other delays caused by third parties handling their closings (see story).

HR 5569, the National Flood Insurance Program Extension Act of 2010, retroactively reinstates the National Flood Insurance program, which expired May 31, until Sept. 30.

The Senate passed both bills by unanimous voice vote Wednesday, after plans to use a bill extending unemployment insurance to extend both deadlines were complicated by disagreements over deficit spending.

The bill to extend unemployment benefits, HR 4213, fell two votes short in the Senate Wednesday of the 60 votes needed to end debate, and no further action on the bill is expected until lawmakers return from the the July 4 recess.

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