WASHINGTON — Sen. Heidi Heitkamp is striking an optimistic tone for mortgage finance reform, saying she's hopeful that a Senate Banking Committee plan to overhaul the market could make it to the chamber floor for a vote this year.

The North Dakota Democrat predicted that the banking panel would hold a vote on a bill by Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., and Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, the ranking member, in coming weeks, adding that supporters are then likely to push hard for a floor vote. The committee leaders unveiled a bill earlier this month to unwind Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and establish a new system of mortgage securities backed by the federal government. The plan builds on earlier legislation by Sens. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Mark Warner, D-Va., co-sponsored by eight additional banking panel members, including Heitkamp.

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