On Friday, the House of Representatives approved the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act by a 263 to 171 vote. I thought it might be helpful to pass on a summary by the CA Association of Realtors explaining how the legislation will set the stage for the eventual recovery of the housing market and the financial health of every household in our country.
Here’s what the legislation does:
Helps American families keep their homes by requiring the Treasury Dept. and any federal agency that owns or controls troubled mortgages to modify those mortgages wherever possible; this may include reducing the principal or interest rate; and extends till the end of 2012 the exclusion from federal income tax of mortgage debt forgiveness.
Addresses the credit crisis by allowing financial institutions to immediately sell $250 billion in troubled assets to the U.S. Treasury Department under the newly created Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP). Another $100 billion would be made available upon the President’s request. Should the President deem it necessary, and with Congressional review, the Treasury Dept. may utilize the remaining $350 billion;
Protects taxpayers by allowing the Treasury Dept. to take an ownership stake in participating companies. In addition, if after five years TARP has incurred a net loss, the President must propose legislation that would force participating companies to reimburse the government to make up the difference;
Sets up an insurance program, funded by the financial industry, to guarantee companies’ troubled assets, including mortgage-backed securities purchased prior to March 14 this year;
Curbs executive pay for companies utilizing TARP;
Sets up two oversight committees, a Financial Stability Board, and a congressional oversight panel, to which the Financial Stability Board would report;
Creates renewable energy tax breaks for individuals and businesses, including a deduction for the purchase of solar panels; as well as continuing other tax breaks that were set to expire; and extends relief from the Alternative Minimum Tax (AMT) by another year;
Allows the SEC to suspend the required mark-to-market accounting standards and orders a study to be done on the rule’s impact on financial institutions;
Shields bank deposits by temporarily raising the FDIC insurance cap to $250,000 from $100,000; and temporarily increases the federal insurance level for credit union savings to $250,000, both till the end of 2009.
William E. Brown2008 PresidentCALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®