House, Senate stimulus bills differ

Monday, February 9, 2009 | 5:25 p.m. CST; updated 5:47 p.m. CST, Monday, February 9, 2009

Key differences between the $827 billion Senate version of President Barack Obama's economic recovery plan and the $820 billion version that passed the House last month.


  • State aid: The Senate bill has $39 billion in education aid to states. The House measure includes $54 billion. It also includes a separate $25 billion block grant for states to use on other programs.
  • Direct aid to individuals: The Senate devotes $17 billion for one-time $300 payments to Social Security recipients, poor people on Supplemental Security Income and veterans receiving disability and pensions. The House has $4 billion to provide a one-time additional Supplemental Security Income payment to poor elderly and disabled people of $450 for individuals and $630 for married couples.
  • School construction: The House provides $19.5 billion to build and repair school and university facilities. The money was stripped from the Senate bill.


  • Alternative minimum tax: The Senate devotes $70 billion to "patch" the alternative minimum tax, saving more than 20 million taxpayers a 2009 tax increase averaging about $2,000. The House bill does not include that provision.
  • Homebuyer tax credit: The Senate provides $35.5 billion for a $15,000 tax credit for purchasers of homes bought in the year after the bill takes effect. The House includes $2.6 billion and limits its smaller $7,500 credit to first-time homebuyers for homes purchased from Jan. 1, 2009, to July 1, 2009, and phases out the credit for couples making more than $150,000.
  • Carbuyer tax deduction: The Senate devotes $11 billion to make interest payments on loans for new cars and automobile sales taxes deductible. The House bill does not.


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