House Approves Bailout Bill

By a vote of 263-171, the U.S. House of Representatives has approved the financial rescue plan that the Senate passed earlier this week.

At least 20 House members that had previously voted against the bill switched positions for today's vote, CNN notes.

The bill authorizes the Treasury to buy up to $700 billion worth of distressed mortgage assets – although the actual cost to taxpayers may be less than $700 billion if the Treasury redeems or sells the assets for profit after the market recovers.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) immediately praised the House for approving the plan and pointed to a number of other beneficial tax provisions included in the legislation's final version. Deductibility of forgiven mortgage debt and a $1,000 property tax deduction for non-itemizing couples are expected to encourage expansion in the mortgage and real estate sectors.

In addition, the bill now includes an allowance for expensing brownfields environmental remediation costs and accelerated cost recovery for qualified leasehold improvements, as well as deductions for energy-efficient commercial buildings.

‘A number of [the provisions] are items that MBA has fought for over a number of years, and we are pleased that Congress passed them before they expired,’ noted John Courson, COO of the MBA.

In another change from its earlier version, the bill would also temporarily increase the amount of deposit insurance provided for individuals by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. and National Credit Union Administration from its current $100,000 to $250,000.


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