House votes to spare banks, Fannie and Freddie from cuts

The House voted Thursday to spare banks and borrowers of mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from being tapped to pay for highway spending.

Lawmakers voted overwhelmingly for an amendment to take provisions affecting banks and the government-sponsored enterprises out of a transportation bill that passed the House. The amendment, offered by Rep. Randy Neugebauer, R-Texas, passed 354-72.

Without the amendment, the bill would have paid for highway spending partly by cutting the dividend that the Federal Reserve pays to its member banks above a certain size from 6 percent to 1.5 percent. It also would have diverted the fees charged by Fannie and Freddie for backing mortgages for the highway bill.

The banking industry strongly opposed lowering the dividend.

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