Housing: To Be Continued...

House Republicans Wednesday delayed House consideration of two housing measures, including a sweeping packaging designed to stem foreclosures and ease the housing market's woes.

Democratic leaders cut off voting around 10 p.m. and moved final votes on the first bill and consideration of the broader package to Thursday.

Upset about the war supplemental and the closed rule on the housing package itself, Republicans offered a gazillion motions to adjourn and other delaying procedural tactics throughout the day Wednesday. One called the housing package - the brain child of Housing Financial Services Chairman Barney Frank (D-Mass.), an "unvetted omnibus."

The package combines several measures already-passed by the House with a new bill, approved by Frank's committee last week, that would provide up to $300 billion in new federal guarantees via the Federal Housing Administration to help distressed homeowners refinance. The package also includes a bundle of tax provisions approved by the House Ways and Means Committee, including a $7,500 first-time homebuyer tax credit.

Republicans objected to the fact that the package was brought to the floor under a rule that allows just three amendments. Many Republicans consider Frank's FHA refinancing proposal a big, expensive bailout. (The estimated cost, however, is less than $2 billion - not the full $300 billion).
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