By a 60-38 vote, the Senate on Thursday approved an amendment that would return the conforming loan limit from $625,500 to its previous ceiling of $729,500. The amendment is tied to H.R.2112, which appropriates spending for numerous federal agencies, including Rural Development and the Food and Drug Administration.
For the higher limits to take effect, the overarching spending bill would have to pass both the Senate and the House. The amendment, introduced by Sen. Robert Menendez, D-N.J., calls for the limits to remain in place through the end of 2013.
"If we want to get the economy moving, the housing market has to be part of it," Menendez said on the Senate floor, according to a Bloomberg report.
Fifty Democrats, eight Republicans and Independents Joe Lieberman (Connecticut) and Bernie Sanders (Vermont) approved the measure. Thirty-eight Republicans opposed it.