Friday, July 25, 2008

Housing Bill Update

I woke up this morning to find I'd made a major boo-boo in my post yesterday about the housing stimulus bill.

The bill passed the HOUSE on Wednesday, not the Senate. However, the Senate is expected to pass the bill as soon as Saturday (tomorrow).

I'm sorry! To the 300 to 500 people who read me daily, mea culpa. I changed the original post.

I guess it's an indication of how complex the bill actually is. I was so intent on visiting a half-dozen trusted news outlets' websites to get the lowdown on all the pertinent provisions of the bill that I mixed up House and Senate. Yikes. It's a bit off-putting that a very expensive bill being rushed through Congress is so complex that even biggies like the Los Angeles Times, the Wall Street Journal and NPR each report different specific bits of the legislation and none of them ran a complete story.

BTW, in the midst of that research, I found one blog that said the housing stimulus bill contains a provision that requires vendors like eBay and PayPal to report nearly all of their transactions to the federal government. That blogger links to what appears to be the actual text of a Senate document.

But, that document was circulated by the Senate Republican Policy Committee (they're the minority party and therefore not in complete control of what gets passed into law). The document, dated June 18 (and therefore surely much changed by now) details provisions of the Senate's substitute bill to the bill passed by the House on Wednesday (HR 3221).

And in any case, the way I read the language in that Republican substitue bill (page 11), any transaction under $10,000 is exempted from being reported. So unless you're buying and selling very expensive things on these websites, your activity won't be reported to the feds. But again, this was written by the minority party over a month ago. Who knows what our government is up to today.