The House and the Senate have passed a bill that provides $4 billion in additional loan commitment authority to prevent a shutdown of the Federal Housing Administration multifamily program.The bill (S. 2712) raises the loan commitment authority for the FHA General and Special Risk Program account from $25 billion to $29 billion. The Bush administration requested the additional commitment authority on July 14 to make sure that the FHA multifamily, condominium, and manufactured housing loan programs could keep up with loan demand through August and September. The federal government's fiscal year ends Sept. 30. FHA Commissioner John Weicher told a congressional panel that the FHA could handle the current pace of loan applications. However, the additional commitment authority would ensure that a surge in applications in August and September won't force another shutdown, as occurred last year. Congress passed S. 2712 just before adjourning for a six-week summer recess. Congress returns on Sept. 7.

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