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Congress votes to restore FHA loan limits

Fannie and Freddie excluded from proposal

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Lawmakers have voted to restore loan limits for the Federal Housing Administration to pre-Oct. 1 levels, but the reprieve won't apply to Fannie Mae and Fannie Mac.House and Senate leaders signed off Monday on a conference report for a "minibus" appropriations bill that included language restoring FHA's ability to insure loans of up to $729,750 in high cost markets through 2013.Because the minibus appropriations package also contains a continuing resolution to avoid a government shutdown and continue federal operations until Dec. 16 -- or until Congress completes nine remaining appropriations bills -- lawmakers didn't dally in approving it. The House approved the bill today in a 298-121 vote, and it sailed through the Senate 70-30.The ceiling on so-called jumbo conforming loans -- raised in 2008 after the collapse of secondary markets for loans that don't lack government backing -- dropped, as scheduled, to $625,500 last month.The formula for determining the jumbo conforming ...