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US lower house votes for mortgage rescue plan

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US lower house votes for mortgage rescue plan

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Far-reaching legislation aimed at rescuing 400,000 cash-strapped homeowners has sailed through the US lower house.

Experts say the 272 to 152 vote reflects a congressional decision to offer election year help to struggling borrowers.

It is hoped the plan will help mortgage payers avoid foreclosure on their loans as well as prevent the collapse of the troubled companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

It should also serve to calm financial markets amid jitters over the health of the two companies, which together back or own three trillion euros in mortgages – that is almost half the national total.

The measures are on track to pass the Senate and become law within days, after President George W. Bush dropped his opposition.