Democratic leaders are rushing to pass the massive economic stimulus bill and they are urging the House and Senate conferees to agree on a final bill quickly so the House can vote on the bill this Thursday.

The final bill is expected to include an increase in loan limits and a tax credit for homebuyers. On Tuesday, the Senate passed its $820 billion economic stimulus bill with a larger tax credit than the House-passed stimulus.

The Senate doubled the size of the tax credit to $15,000 and opened it to all homebuyers — not just to first-timers like the House bill. House conferees are expected to pare back the tax credit.

But supporters of the Senate version are hoping it will remain open to all homebuyers. The National Association of Home Builders estimates the $15,000 homebuyer tax credit could generate 500,000 additional home sales and 255,000 jobs this year.

Senate conferees are expected to accept a House provision that raises the maximum loan limit on Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and Federal Housing Administration loans to $729,750 for the rest of this calendar year. Earlier in the debate, Senate Republicans failed in their efforts to include a mortgage buydown program in the stimulus bill. This expensive program to reduce mortgage rates to 4% was defeated in the Senate by a 62-35 vote.

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