Congress has passed a housing rescue bill aimed at sparing 400,000 struggling homeowners from foreclosure. President Bush is expected to sign the measure quickly. The Senate passed the legislation by a 72-13 vote in a rare Saturday session. The measure lets homeowners who cannot afford their monthly payments refinance into more affordable government-backed loans rather than losing their homes.
The bill also offers a temporary financial lifeline to the troubled mortgage companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, and tightens controls over them. There would be higher limits on loans that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac can buy and the Federal Housing Administration can insure. The loans would be capped at $625,000.