Housing Rescue Moves Forward

Proposed legislation now goes to the full House for a vote.

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The Democratic-led effort to undertake a taxpayer-funded rescue of struggling homeowners took a key step forward yesterday, as the House Financial Services Committee voted to move a housing-relief bill to the full house for approval.

The legislative effort, which is being spearheaded by committee chairman Barney Frank, a Massachusetts Democrat, seeks to allow distressed borrowers to refinance into less costly loans backed by the Federal Housing Administration. Frank says that the plan, which calls for the government to guarantee up to $300 billion in home mortgages, would cost between $3 billion and $6 billion, the AP reports.

The key to the bill's passage, of course, will be Republican support.

From the AP:

Frank said the breadth of GOP support for the plan in his committee indicated that there could be enough votes to override a veto — which takes two thirds — but he said he was optimistic that wouldn't be necessary. "There's a very good possibility that we could have a housing package...that could get signed" by Bush, he said.