The U.S. Senate revived Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s economic rescue package Wednesday night, voting 74 to 25 to approve the proposal just two days after the House of Representatives unexpectedly rejected it. Paulson has proposed spending hundreds of billions of dollars to purchase troubled assets from financial institutions, which are struggling to maintain liquidity and solvency in the face of the housing downturn.
Many housing-related groups had supported the bill and reiterated their concerns prior to the Senate vote. “It’s time to set aside politics, self-serving interests and ideology and unite as Americans in support of this legislation,” NAHB President Sandy Dunn said Wednesday prior to the vote. Once the Senate approved it, such associations were quick to praise the decision. “We are extremely pleased that the Senate has passed this bill and urge the House of Representatives to bring it up and pass it as quickly as possible,” said John A. Courson, COO of the Mortgage Bankers Association. “The current crisis in the credit markets stretches far beyond the mortgage industry and, if not addressed, threatens Americans' ability to get business, auto, and other types of loans and could drag down the entire U.S. economy.”
The new version of the bill, scheduled for a House vote on Friday, features several new provisions. They include extending the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation’s line of credit with the Treasury Department into 2009, revising corporate accounting rules that many think have contributed to the current banking crisis, a higher limit for bank accounts protected by federal deposit insurance, and tax breaks for consumers and businesses.
Alison Rice is senior editor, online, at BUILDER magazine.