WASHINGTON, Nov. 4 (UPI) -- The U.S. Senate Wednesday approved a bill to extend and expand a tax credit for homebuyers and extend unemployment benefits.
On a 98-0 vote, the Senate passed a measure to extend until April 30, 2010, an $8,000 tax credit for first time buyers that is scheduled to expire Nov. 30. The legislation would also provide a tax credit of $6,500 for some existing homeowners who want to move up and increase the limit on income levels for people to qualify for the tax break, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The House, which approved a similar version of the bill Tuesday, is expected to take up the Senate bill quickly and send the measure to President Barack Obama, who is expected to sign it, the newspaper said.
Enactment of the measure will likely add momentum to a recovering U.S. real estate market, Sen. Chris Dodd, D-Conn., said.
"Every economist will tell you we have to steady the housing market before the economy will turn around," Dodd said. "We can't afford to let this tax credit expire now."
The bill approved by the Senate Wednesday also extends jobless benefits by at least 14 weeks in all states and by 20 weeks in states where joblessness resulting from the economic downturn is most severe.