President George W. Bush signed into law a package of housing legislation intended to ease the burden on thousands of borrowers who face losing their homes. The legislation will also bail out major mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
"The law authorizes the Treasury to rescue the mortgage finance giants, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, should they verge on collapse, potentially by spending tens of billions in federal monies. Together, the companies own or guarantee nearly half of the nation's $12 trillion in mortgages."
"To accommodate the rescue plan for the mortgage companies, the bill raises the national debt ceiling to $10.6 trillion, an increase of $800 billion. The bill also creates significant liabilities and risks for taxpayers, that are virtually impossible to calculate."
"Though the legislation was the product of months of intensive work by lawmakers in both parties and has been hailed as the most aggressive intervention by the government into the housing market in more than a generation, perhaps since the New Deal, no members of Congress were invited to the signing."
"The enactment of the legislation comes in the same week that the administration announced that Mr. Bush would leave behind a record $482 billion deficit, which will probably grow substantially if home values continue to decline and if there are further reductions in corporate and personal income as many economists are forecasting for the rest of the year."