The prospects for the gigantic housing rescue that had been fumbling through Congress got a huge boost on Wednesday when President Bush withdrew his objections to the legislation.
From The Associated Press:
President Bush dropped his opposition Wednesday to a broad housing package aimed at bolstering the sagging economy, despite his objections to including $3.9 billion for neighborhoods hit hardest by foreclosures. The House was expected to vote on the bill Wednesday, and it could become law as early as this week.
Under the bill, the government would help struggling homeowners get new, cheaper loans and would be allowed to offer troubled mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac a cash infusion.
The Bush administration and lawmakers in both parties teamed to negotiate the measure, which pairs Democrats' top priorities—federal help for homeowners facing foreclosure and $3.9 billion for devastated neighborhoods—with Republicans' goal of reining in mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac while reassuring financial markets of their stability.
Bush had objected to the neighborhood grants, which would be for buying and fixing up foreclosed properties, saying that they were aimed at helping bankers and lenders, not homeowners who are in trouble.
White House press secretary Dana Perino announced Bush's switch in a telephone conference call with reporters. "We believe this is not the time for a prolonged veto fight, but we are confident the president would prevail in one," she said.