Married couples making up to $102,800 could get a $6,000 tax credit to cover downpayment and closing costs on their first home under a bill introduced by Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.The tax credit can either be claimed in the year after the purchase of the first home or it can be transferred directly to the lender at closing. "This is cash on the table at the time of purchase," Sen. Stabenow said. The Michigan senator first introduced the bill in May 2003 before Congress passed the president's American Dream Downpayment Assistance program, which also provides up to $6,000 in downpayment and closing cost assistance. So far, the president's program has helped 6,500 families "to achieve the dream of homeownership," according to the Department of Housing and Urban Development. Sen. Gordon Smith is a co-sponsor of the Stabenow bill (H.R. 1213). The Oregon Republican is also the sponsor of a bill (S. 132) that would allow homeowners with incomes of up to $100,000 to deduct the cost of mortgage insurance premiums from their federal taxes.

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