Congress Mortgage Steps

Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke is assuring Congress that steps will be taken to ease the mortgage crisis.

In testimony prepared for a House committee hearing Thursday, Bernanke says the Federal Reserve "takes responsible lending and consumer protection very seriously." And he says the Fed will take steps to crack down on abusive or bad lending practices.

The Fed chairman says the credit crisis has created "significant market stress." He says the Fed is "committed to preventing problems from recurring, while still preserving responsible subprime lending."

His comments come two days after the Federal Reserve sliced a key interest rate by a half-percentage point to prevent the housing and credit problems from sinking the economy.

Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson is also scheduled to appear at Thursday's hearing. Paulson has indicated that the Bush administration is willing to consider some new steps to pump money into the mortgage market.


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