WASHINGTON — Lawmakers have authorized the Federal Housing Administration to make a narrow set of changes to its reverse mortgages program to help the troubled program avert more radical reforms later this year.

The Senate passed the Reverse Mortgage Stabilization Act on Tuesday evening by voice vote. Once President Obama signs the bill into law, the agency can make certain changes by mortgagee letter, such as requiring financial assessments of a borrower's budget and limiting the amount borrowers can take out as a lump sum up front. Carol Galante, the agency's commissioner, implored lawmakers on the Senate Banking Committee to take up the legislation quickly at a hearing last week.

"Thanks to bipartisan efforts in both chambers, the FHA can now act quickly to make necessary and common sense reforms to the federal reverse mortgage program," said Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., who introduced the legislation in May.

The House passed the bill in June.

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