Backtracking U.S. Lawmakers Expand Federal Role in Mortgages

Washington lawmakers, who began 2011 with sweeping plans to shrink the U.S. government’s role in mortgage finance, are heading into 2012 after enacting policies that expand it.

An 11th-hour payroll tax cut extension signed into law last week will for the first time divert funds directly from Fannie Mae (FNMA) and Freddie Mac, the two mortgage-finance companies under U.S. conservatorship, to pay for general government expenses.

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