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House passes major housing rescue bill
May 8th, 2008 3:02 PM



05/08/2008 WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. House of Representatives on Thursday approved a bill to create a $300 billion mortgage-insurance fund and provide billions more in homeowner aid to stabilize a housing market shaken by a wave of foreclosures. The bill would also offer a $7,500 tax credit for first-time home buyers. A separate measure passed on Thursday would send $15 billion to local communities hard-hit by the mortgage crisis to help them buy and fix abandoned homes. The mortgage insurance fund, which would be overseen by the Federal Housing Administration, is expected to help 500,000 borrowers whose homes have dropped in value since they took out their mortgage. Under the program, lenders could get an FHA guarantee on the loan if they wrote down the principal amount. While the White House has threatened to veto the sweeping bill, it supports some provisions and has left the door open to compromise. The House bill now goes to the Senate, which has yet to fully debate and vote on key elements in the House plan. The Senate Banking Committee on Tuesday is scheduled to begin drafting similar legislation to expand the FHA program. It is also due to take up a separate provision in the House bill that would create a new regulator for government-chartered mortgage finance companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. (Reporting by Patrick Rucker and Kevin Drawbaugh; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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Posted by Kathy Norman on May 8th, 2008 3:02 PMPost a Comment

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