Senate Passes Housing Rescue Bill - TheStreet

Senate Passes Housing Rescue Bill

The legislation now goes to President Bush, who is expected to sign it quickly.
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The Senate Saturday passed housing rescue legislation aimed at helping struggling homeowners avoid foreclosure and providing financial support to troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE) .

The bill, which cleared the House Wednesday, now goes to President Bush. The White House said Bush will sign it quickly, even though he has expressed concern about $3.9 billion in the bill aimed at helping communities buy and restore foreclosed homes, according to a report by the

Associated Press

.

In a rare Saturday session, the Senate passed the legislation by a vote of 72 to 13.

The bill would give the Treasury Department authority to provide support as needed to government-sponsored agencies Fannie and Freddie, which guarantee or own nearly half the nation's mortgages. Concerns about the companies' financial stability have dented their shares and sparked fears that a failure of one or both could have catastrophic consequences for the already depressed U.S. housing market.

The legislation would also help some 400,000 homeowners avoid foreclosure by refinancing into affordable loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration, the

AP

report noted. And it would raise the size of mortgages that can be purchased by Fannie and Freddie and insured by the FHA, the report added.

This article was written by a staff member of TheStreet.com.