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Administration weighs housing credit

From NBC's Winston Wilde
HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan today said he needs a fuller picture of the potential costs of Sen. Johnny Isakson's (R-GA) first-time homebuyer's tax credit extension before the administration can get behind it.

"We understand the urgency, and in the next few weeks, we'll have data that will allow us to sit down with you and talk of an extension," Donovan said.

Isakson's proposal would take an $8,000 credit for new homebuyers, set to expire at the end of November, and extend it through June 30, 2010. Isakson said that the Congressional Budget Office score is $16.7 billion if the tax credit is extended, and would enable the housing industry to make it through the winter (historically the three worst months of the year for home buying) and the spring (historically the three best months in the year).

Isakson, who testified along with Donovan before the Senate Banking Committee today, said that without approving the extension, America "will have a drastic and awful situation, worse than what we have now." Donovan didn't see quite so "catastrophic" a decline as a result of a failure to extend the tax credit.