WASHINGTON - Chairman Jim Leach's proposal to shift a $16 billion tab from banks and thrifts to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac appears to be facing strong opposition within the House Banking Committee.

Democrats were expected to line up solidly against the proposal, which Rep. Leach unveiled Friday. "It's a tax on middle-class housing," said an aide to Rep. Bruce Vento, D-Minn., predicting strong opposition on his side of the aisle.

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