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The cover features a portrait of him standing before the American flag and the Minnesota flag.

SENATE

Lawmakers OK home tax credit extension

The Senate on Wednesday approved a plan to give homebuyers an extra three months to finish qualifying for federal tax incentives that boosted home sales this spring.

The move by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid would give buyers until Sept. 30 to complete their purchases and qualify for tax credits of up to $8,000. Under the current terms, buyers had until April 30 to get a signed sales contract and until June 30 to complete the sale.

The proposal, approved by a 60-37 vote, would only allow people who already have signed contracts to finish at the later date. About 180,000 homebuyers who already signed purchase agreements would otherwise miss the deadline.

Mr. Reid, Nevada Democrat, added the proposal to a bill extending jobless benefits through the end of November. Nevada has the nation’s highest foreclosure rate, and Mr. Reid is facing a tough re-election campaign.

Realtors have been pushing hard in Congress for the extension. Mortgage lenders, a trade group says, have been swamped with borrowers trying to get approved by the end of the month. Many potential borrowers are unlikely to make the deadline.

“If Congress fails to act promptly, then prospective homebuyers might not get the benefit of the homebuyer tax credit, even though they have completed contracts,” a Realtors group said in a letter to lawmakers.

LABOR

Department boosts child labor penalties

The Labor Department is sharply increasing the penalties against employers who illegally use child workers.

Anyone illegally employing 12-and 13-year-olds will now face a penalty of $6,000 for each violation. The maximum fine previously was $900.

Those employing children younger than 12 will face a penalty of $8,000 per violation. That’s up from a previous maximum of $1,150.

Labor Secretary Hilda Solis says the new fines are part of a stepped-up effort to crack down on illegal child labor. The penalties could go as high as $11,000 per violation in cases that involve injury or willful and repeated offenders.

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