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Struggling borrowers hold out for affordable loans

Real estate roundup

$300 billion FHA expansion clears Senate hurdle A plan to expand FHA loan guarantee programs by $300 billion to help troubled borrowers refinance into more affordable loans cleared a procedural hurdle Tuesday, as the Senate voted 83-9 to move forward on a debate. The "Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008" would also create a new regulator for mortgage financers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and assess them more than $700 million a year to cover the cost of expanding Federal Housing Administration loan guarantee programs. The Congressional Budget Office has estimated the program would help 400,000 borrowers at a cost of $680 million over 10 years. Nine Republicans voted against moving forward on the bill Tuesday, and presidential candidates John McCain, R-Ariz., and Barack Obama, D-Ill., were among eight who did not cast votes. The bill could be approved by the Senate today, but faces a veto threat by President Bush. The House and Senate also differ on wher...