Congressional appropriators have slashed funding for the president's downpayment assistance program to $25 million in approving the fiscal year 2006 budget for the Department of Housing and Urban Development.In his budget request to Congress last winter, President Bush proposed $200 million for his signature housing program, which provides downpayment and closing-cost assistance to low-income homebuyers. The House and Senate appropriations committees originally set aside $50 million for the DPA program, which has been underfunded since it was created three years ago. However, the appropriators reduced it to $25 million in agreeing to the Transportation, Treasury and HUD appropriations conference report that passed on Nov. 18 -- just before Congress adjourned for a two-week Thanksgiving recess. The HUD fiscal 2006 appropriations bill keeps loan commitment authority for the Federal Housing Administration and Ginnie Mae at fiscal 2005 levels. The Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight also receives $60 million in fiscal 2006, the same as in fiscal 2005. OFHEO regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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