Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., says a GSE bill to strengthen regulation of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac may go to the Senate floor without changes to a key provision that Democratic senators strongly oppose."As far as I know, it could go to the floor as passed by the committee," Sen. Hagel told reporters. "Those who disagree with the bill would have an opportunity to introduce amendments." On July 28, the Senate Banking Committee approved a GSE bill by a party line vote of 11-9. The Democrats opposed the bill (S. 190) because it directs the new regulator to reduce the size of Fannie's and Freddie's giant mortgage portfolios. Democrats are also disappointed that the bill does not require the two government-sponsored enterprises to contribute 5% of their profits to an affordable housing fund. So far, efforts to bridge the differences appear to be nonexistent. Sen. Hagel said the chances for Senate action would improve it the House passed its GSE bill. The Nebraska senator also noted that Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., has been talking with Republican leaders about the bill. A banking committee spokesman said the chairman "continues to talk with leadership about the prospects of moving a bill this year."

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