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Legislation includes homebuyer tax credit extension, help for struggling American businesses

(Washington, DC) - U.S. Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a leader in the fight to extend unemployment benefits to jobless workers in all 50 states and co-author of the Senate compromise amendment, today applauded Senate passage of a fair extension of unemployment insurance to jobless workers in New Hampshire and across the country.  The legislation, which includes additional economy boosting provisions, such as an extension and expansion of the first-time homebuyer tax credit and support for American businesses struggling to stay afloat in this recession, will provide 14 weeks of extended emergency unemployment compensation to workers in all states that have exhausted their benefits.  Jobless workers in states with unemployment rates over 8.5 percent will be eligible for an additional six weeks of benefits.

"Many of our nation's unemployed workers have been anxiously waiting for these benefits to come through, and I'm happy to report that relief is on the way," said Shaheen. "I am proud of the bill that passed the Senate today - it will help nearly 2 million Americans who are still unable to find work, protect small businesses struggling in this challenging economic climate, and stimulate economic activity to help create jobs and grow our economy.  Our work to stabilize the economy and create jobs does not stop here, but we took an important step today to do the right thing for American workers and their families."

The unemployment insurance extension passed by the U.S. House of Representatives would have only offered 13 weeks of additional benefits to jobless workers in the 27 states with unemployment rates over 8.5 percent, leaving jobless workers in New Hampshire and 22 other states out completely.  Shaheen objected to the House-passed bill and worked with Senators Harry Reid (D-NV), Max Baucus (D-MT), and Jack Reed (D-RI) to craft a stronger, more inclusive bill - legislation that was praised by The New York Times.  The Senate-passed legislation will now go back to the House, where quick passage is expected.

The legislation passed today includes a bipartisan compromise on a homebuyer tax credit extension, which would continue the $8,000 first-time homebuyer credit through April 30, 2010, allowing purchasers under a binding contract an additional 60 days to close after that date.  It also provides a $6,500 credit to home purchasers who have lived in their current residence for five years or more. 

"The slumping housing market is one of the main causes of this recession, and it is absolutely critical that we got it moving again," said Shaheen.  "We have seen signs that the housing market is starting to stabilize, and we need to continue this momentum. Winter months are some of the toughest for the housing and construction industries, and this tax credit extension should help to get us over that hump.  But this tax credit should not and will not exist forever."

The bipartisan net operating loss carryback provision would allow U.S. companies of every size to carry back losses incurred in either 2008 or 2009 against income earned in any of the five prior years, limited to 50 percent of the taxpayer's income in the fifth year.  With many companies incurring greater expenses than revenues due to the economy, this provision will help to make sure businesses are able to stay afloat as the economy recovers.