A day after conservative Republicans threatened to block the housing rescue legislation that is making its way through Congress, the Senate has begun considering the measure, the Associated Press reports.
From the Associated Press:
House and Senate Republicans voiced reservations about the bill in light of allegations that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., one of its architects, and Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad, D-N.D., got cut-rate home loans through a VIP program at Countrywide Financial Corp., a leading subprime lender at the center of the mortgage meltdown.
But Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., dropped a threat to block the measure. Democrats and Republicans consider the legislation a political imperative amid rising foreclosures and growing public anxiety about the sagging economy.
On Wednesday, a group of nine Republicans wrote a letter to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, a Nevada Democrat, requesting that the bill be pulled, according to Politico.com.
"We are also concerned with recent allegations related to Countrywide Financial, a private entity that by some estimates would receive more than $2.5 billion in benefits from this bill," the GOP senators wrote. "We request that you delay consideration until we have adequate time to read the bill and better understand the allegations and how much Countrywide will benefit from the bill."
One hurdle down, many to go. This Countrywide issue is going to be with the bill the whole way, and there are still differences between the Senate and House versions that need to be worked out. It's going to take a real scramble to get this thing to the president's desk by the July 4 break, as the Democratic leadership would like.