WASHINGTON — The Senate late Friday voted 63 to 5 for a landmark housing bill containing several significant bond provisions.
The action brings to a close to what had been a lengthy debate in the Senate. While the bill garnered strong approval during procedural votes, its ultimate passage was delayed by several weeks due to efforts to add to it a renewable energy amendment that would have authorized $3 billion of energy conservation bonds and $2 billion of clean renewable energy bonds.
Since Senate leaders refused to consider the amendment because it was not housing-related, amendment backers denied them the unanimous consent needed to proceed to a direct vote on the housing bill.
Among other bond provisions, the bill would provide an additional $11 billion of mortgage revenue bonds to be used by state and local housing finance agencies to refinance subprime mortgages as well as provide new loans to first-time homebuyers. The bill also would permanently exempt all new housing bonds from the alternative minimum tax. The measure now goes to the House of Representatives for approval, but President Bush has threatened to veto it.