The Senate Banking Committee on Thursday afternoon narrowly approved legislation to create a new, tougher regulator for all three housing government-sponsored enterprises.The bill, which passed the panel by a 12-9 vote, would allow a new regulator to place Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into receivership unless Congress adopts a resolution that disapproves of the action. Receivership powers proved to be the most contentious issue during the committee mark-up. Moreover, the partisan nature of the vote means passage of a bill by the full Senate is unlikely this year. Sen. Paul Sarbanes, D-Md., warned that the receivership powers are unnecessary and would upset the housing finance markets. "We are playing with dynamite," he warned.

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