The Treasury Department is about to swear in Robert K. Steel as the new under secretary responsible for policies and legislation involving Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.The Senate confirmed the former Goldman Sachs vice chairman Sept. 29 just before Congress left Washington for the Nov. 7 elections. Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson handpicked his former colleague at Goldman Sachs to replace Under Secretary Randal Quarles, who announced this summer that he wanted to return to the private sector. The swearing-in ceremony comes at a time when Secretary Paulson wants to break a legislative stalemate over government-sponsored enterprise regulatory reform and pass a bill when Congress returns Nov. 9 for a lame-duck session. But the odds of that happening are slim. Mr. Paulson was the chairman and chief executive of Goldman Sachs.

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