Two senior members of the Senate Judiciary Committee support the Bush administration's effort to get lenders and servicers to freeze the interest rate resets on adjustable-rate subprime mortgages, but they still want to craft legislation that would allow the bankruptcy courts to provide relief for distressed homeowners.Sens. Richard Durbin, D-Ill., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said they support Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's plan to increase loan modifications. "It can be done promptly and help people," Sen. Specter told reporters. He noted that it is difficult to pass legislation in the Senate. "We don't do anything fast around here," he said. Secretary Paulson's plan to freeze the interest rate on subprime mortgages will reduce defaults and rising foreclosures, Sen. Durbin said. But allowing bankruptcy judges to reduce the principal amount and interest rate on residential mortgages would provide more relief, he said, and encourage more loan modifications. Efforts to pass a similar bill in the House have stalled. The Illinois senator said he plans to redouble his efforts in working out a compromise with his Republican colleague. Sen. Specter said their talks so far have not produced much progress.

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