I have some good news to share with you. Today, the U.S. House of Representatives voted by an overwhelming 403-12 margin to approve the Unemployment Compensation Extension Act (H.R. 3548) that included, as an amendment, the extension and expansion of the Homebuyer Tax Credit. The bill already passed in the U.S. Senate yesterday, so now it will advance from Congress to the White House for President Obama’s signature. The Administration already has signaled its support of the Homebuyer Tax Credit amendment as well as the President’s intention to sign the bill into law.
This is an historic moment for the real estate industry as well as the culmination of more than a year’s worth of hard work and meetings with elected officials and policy makers. I want to thank all of you who participated in the numerous legislative calls for action — I am appreciative of how so many made office visits, phone calls and e-mailed thier elected officials. I know that our grass roots outreach to Congress and the Administration truly helped make a difference on this issue.
Senator Johnny Isakson (R-Ga.), the chief architect of the Homebuyer Tax Credit legislation, made a short speech on the floor of the U.S. Senate shortly before his colleagues voted 98-0 to pass the bill on November 4th. In his remarks, Sen. Isakson made a point of thanking a handful of key individuals who were critical to the success of this bipartisan effort: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-Mont.), Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn.), his own lead staffer, Chris Cook, and Realogy’s CEO:
“Lastly, but not least, I want to thank Mr. Richard Smith, a private citizen, a person in the housing industry who has dedicated countless hours in the last month to help educate people on the positive effects of what we are about to do and will take place,” said Isakson.
Again, we are now one step away from this bill becoming law.
In closing, our voices were heard in Washington, D.C., and we should be proud that our government is taking strong action to help the real estate industry, new homeowners and the economy. Having an extended and expanded Homebuyer Tax Credit available to qualified home buyers in the first half of 2010 undoubtedly will benefit our business and the U.S. economy.