Sen. Robert F. Bennett, R-Utah, says there is a "pretty good" chance the Senate will pass a bill to strengthen regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac during the first half of next year."It is very clear the GSEs need a robust, well-staffed, well-financed regulator," Sen. Bennett told a Women in Housing and Finance luncheon in Washington. "And they do not have one now." The Senate Banking Committee member noted that the "ideological gap" between the Bush administration and Congress has narrowed and the principals have a more realistic view of what needs to be done to enhance the regulation of the government-sponsored enterprises. He said he expects the committee chairman, Sen. Christopher J. Dodd, D-Conn., to get the ball rolling on GSE reform "fairly early" next year. The House passed a GSE reform bill in May.

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