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House Passes Mortgage, GSE Aid Bill

As expected, the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed legislation that will expand the FHA's mortgage reach for troubled borrowers, and establish a Treasury backstop for Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE). The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 passed the House by a 272 to 152 margin, and now heads to the Senate, where it is expected to pass muster by Friday before heading to President Bush for signing. The President indicated earlier on Wednesday that he would not veto the legislation, as he had earlier threatened to do over a planned $4 billion allocated for Community Development Block Grant funds that would allow local governments to purchase foreclosed and abandoned real estate in the neighborhoods hardest hit by the nation's ongoing housing crisis. Democrats largely supported the bill's passage in the House, although Republicans remain divided about it; House minority leader John Boehner among them. Republicans voted against the measure 149-45, while Democrats almost unanimously supported it by a 227-3 margin. See earlier coverage: Housing Bill Adds Second Lien Amendment; DAPs to Be Eliminated Housing Package Set For House Approval; Bush Drops Veto Threat

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