The Senate cleared a major hurdle Tuesday toward passing a broad $300 billion mortgage aid package designed to help ease the nationwide housing crisis, despite opposition from the White House, which says the measure could lead to unfair "bailouts" for lenders and subsidies for homeowners.
The bill's centerpiece would allow struggling homeowners to refinance their mortgages at lower rates, with the loans backed by the government. The package also would provide first-time home buyers with up to $8,000 in tax credits.
The House also Tuesday defied a White House veto threat and easily passed a Medicare bill that calls for increased compensation to physicians who treat patients using the government health insurance program.
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