Congress Approves Housing Market Rescue Bill

The Congress approved a massive housing market rescue bill on Saturday, offering emergency financing to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac , creating a new regulator for the mortgage titans and setting up a $300 billion fund to help troubled homeowners.


With the U.S. housing market in its deepest slump since the Great Depression, Congress acted with unusual speed in recent days to move the election-year bill to the White House, which has said President George W. Bush will sign it.

The bill, approved by the House of Representatives on Wednesday and the Senate on Saturday, also offers tax breaks to spur home-buying; sets up the first national licensing system for mortgage brokers and loan officers; and sends about $4 billion to localities for buying and repairing foreclosed homes in communities hit hard by a rising foreclosure rate and falling home prices. President Bush is expected to sign the measure quickly.