Mortgage bill faces tough road in Congress
News from The Seattle Times:

WASHINGTON —

A sharply divided Congress isn’t likely to jump at President Barack Obama’s challenge for quick passage of a mortgage refinancing bill that supporters say could help millions of homeowners save big each year and boost the economy.

Obama praised the legislation in his State of the Union speech last week, saying the proposal would help more homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac take advantage of low interest rates and refinance their loans.

Even with mortgage rates near a 50-year low, Obama said, too many families that have never missed a payment and want to refinance are being turned down.

“That’s holding our entire economy back, and we need to fix it,” the president said. “Right now, there’s a bill in this Congress that would give every responsible homeowner in America the chance to save $ 3,000 a year by refinancing at today’s rates. Democrats and Republicans have supported it before.”

The economy’s slow recovery from the recession gives the idea urgency, Obama said. “Send me that bill,” he told members of Congress listening to his speech in the House chamber.

The proposal is part of a push by Democrats and the White House to help homeowners take advantage of low interest rates as a way to help the housing market recover and to give the economy a shot in the arm.

While the bill could gain tr…………… continues on The Seattle Times

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Related News:

Mortgage-interest tax deduction costs less than feared
News from Boston Herald:

WASHINGTON — In the contentious debate over whether to reduce or eliminate the home-mortgage interest tax deduction — or leave it alone — one fact has been virtually unchallenged: The popular write-off used by millions of American owners costs the government massive amounts of revenue, somewhere in the range of $ 100 billion a year.

This adds to the federal deficit and debt, and has ranked the deduction high on the hit list of most tax reformers’ agendas, including the bipartisan Simpson-Bowles deficit commission’s plan. President Obama himself called for limiting it throughout his first term in office, and ran on a platform to pare down its costs in his re-election campaign. The compromise congressional tax package that ended the “fiscal cliff” crisis Jan. 2 also contained a limitation on the mortgage write-off, targeted at high-income taxpayers.

But hold on. How much does allowing owners to deduct the interest they pay on their home loans really cost the government? Congress’ technical experts on the subject have come up with new estimates that should figure into congressional deliberations expected later this year on overhauling the federal tax code. Their findings: The mortgage write-off costs tens of billions of dollars less than the government previously believed.

One day after the Internal Revenue Service released its latest instructions for…………… continues on Boston Herald

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