Odd Bedfellows Oppose Move

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WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of lawmakers, aided by banking and housing groups, are beginning a strong lobbying push to forestall a scheduled drop in the maximum sizes of mortgages backed by the government-sponsored enterprises.

But their efforts face an uphill climb due to heavy opposition from two unlikely allies: House Republican leadership and the Obama administration, according to some analysts.

Industry representatives and congressional advocates warn that the scheduled Oct. 1 drop in loan limits would mean a tightening of mortgage credit, particularly in certain expensive areas such as San Francisco and New York. Those analysts told American Banker, an affiliate of Credit Union Journal, that allowing the higher limits to expire would harm both the housing market and the broader economy.

Rep. John Campbell (R-CA) and Rep. Gary Ackerman (D-NY) have co-sponsored a bill that would extend the elevated limits through Sept. 30, 2013. Sens. Robert Menendez (D-NJ), Johnny Isakson (R-GA), and Dianne Feinstein, (D-CA), meanwhile, introduced a bill that would extend the higher limits until Dec. 31, 2013.

But House Republicans and the White House have said they oppose any extension in order to allow the private sector back into the mortgage market.

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