WASHINGTON -- A budgetary snag in the Senate's bill to finance the new federal housing affordability program could force Congress to drastically scale back funding before giving final approval to the measure this fall, housing lobbyists said this week.

If Congress does reduce the program's funding level, lawmakers may revive an incentive to sell tax-exempt bonds that was removed during Senate deliberations on the bill last month, some of the lobbyists predicted. The program, popularly known as HOME, requires the federal government to match financial contributions made by state and local governments to low-income housing projects.

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