Dodd: Deal "very Close" But Not Certain

Senate Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs Chairman Chris Dodd (D-Conn.) said he doesn't have a deal with ranking Republican Richard Shelby (R-Ala.) on housing legislation, "but we're getting very close."

Dodd made the announcement at the start of a 3 p.m. markup that was supposed to include consideration of an ambitious housing proposal he crafted. Staff for the two lawmakers worked through the night to get a deal; Dodd pushed back the markup from its original 10 a.m. time to give them more time to reach a compromise.

Dodd's bill would do two things. First, it would create a new regulator for Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac and the Federal Home Loan Banks. Second, it would attempt to help homeowners facing foreclosures obtain affordable mortgages by allowing the Federal Housing Administration to offer billions in new guarantees.

Earlier today, lobbyists following the issue told The Crypt that a deal was almost done, with Dodd and Shelby hammering out how to offset the $1.7 billion subsidy for the FHA refinance provision. Then the tide appeared to change.

Dodd said with a deal so close he wanted to make sure to make every effort to finish it, and was therefore delaying consideration of the bill for some time -- though it was unclear whether that meant later today or another day.

"It may not be possible in the end," he warned.

Update: Dodd just recessed the panel until there was something for them to work on.