In a vote of 19-2, the Senate Banking Committee passed the Federal Housing Finance Regulatory Reform Act of 2008 (HR 634) on May 20. The bill establishes an Office of Ombudsman at the new regulator for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks, and calls for up to $400 billion in funding for FHA mortgage refinancings. The bill also requires the regulator to issue regulations establishing criteria governing the portfolio holdings of the government-sponsored enterprises. Furthermore, the bill renames the Affordable Housing Block Grant Program as the Housing Trust Fund, allows additional monies to be placed in the fund, and clarifies that 75% of the amounts in the fund shall be used for the benefit of extremely low-income families.
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