U.S. senators reach deal on housing aid

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An impasse over housing aid ended yesterday as leading U.S. senators announced they had reached a deal. The Bush administration suggested it would consider backing the deal because it did not directly cost taxpayers, after saying it would oppose a rescue bill. The bill would let Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, government-sponsored mortgage-finance companies, create an affordable housing fund that would provide about $500 million to struggling homeowners in its first year. The House reached a similar deal this month. Lenders could limit losses from foreclosures by reducing the principal balances of loans that could default. Borrowers could refinance an adjustable-rate mortgage with a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage insured by the Federal Housing Administration. 

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