Feds to pick up bad mortgages

Fannie, Freddie will also boost purchases

The U.S. government is attempting to head off a collapse of the financial system by promising to provide "hundreds of billions" of support for financial markets and institutions by purchasing troubled mortgages from banks and other institutions.

Bush administration officials including Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke have briefed lawmakers on Capitol Hill on the "urgent need for Congress to pass legislation approving the federal government’s purchase of illiquid assets, such as troubled mortgages …"