WASHINGTON -- Over the objections of his housing secretary, President Bush yesterday signed into law a bill that partially lifts a ban on the use of private-activity bonds in conjunction with the HOME housing affordability program.

The new law, which also reauthorizes HOME and several other housing programs, allows state and local governments to count a portion of their multifamily and mortgage bond issuance in the contributions they make to the program that are eligible for federal matching funds.

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