A bipartisan panel including former secretaries of the Department of Housing and Urban Development and retired U.S. senators is preparing to release a proposal for scaling back the government role in mortgage finance that would put taxpayer dollars at risk primarily under catastrophic circumstances.

The blueprint, which the Washington-based Bipartisan Policy Center is scheduled to release Feb. 25, is an attempt to jump-start the stalled debate over shrinking the government role in the $9.5 trillion mortgage market, according to three people familiar with the plan. The document was drafted over the past 16 months by a 21-member commission including industry representatives, consumer advocates, and former policy makers.

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