A federal rescue of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac could cost taxpayers $25 billion, congressional budget experts said, as the House scheduled a vote for today on legislation that would tap the mortgage giants’ profits to cover any losses from saving 400,000 homeowners from foreclosure.
A costly rescue for Fannie and Freddie is just a worry, not a certainty at this point. Peter R. Orszag, director of the Congressional Budget Office, predicted in a letter to lawmakers Tuesday that there’s a better than even chance the government will not have to step in to prop up the companies by lending them money or buying stock.
The House was expected to vote today on a housing measure that would give the Treasury Department authority to throw the companies a temporary lifeline.
Grand jury indicts five polygamists
A Texas grand jury indicted polygamist sect leader Warren Jeffs and four of his followers Tuesday on charges of felony sexual assault of a child. Another was indicted for failing to report child abuse.
Attorney General Greg Abbott said the five men are charged with one count of sexually assaulting girls under age 17. One of them, but not the 52-year-old Jeffs, faces an additional charge of bigamy.
Abbott said a sixth member of the Fundamentalist Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints is charged with three counts of failure to report child abuse.
Jeffs, already convicted of being accomplice to rape in Utah and awaiting trial in Arizona on other charges related to underage marriages, is accused of assaulting a girl in Texas in January 2005, according to the indictment issued Tuesday.
Measure limits fast-food outlets
A proposal that would place at least a one-year moratorium on new fast-food restaurants in a broad swath of neighborhoods, mostly in South Los Angeles, won unanimous support from a Los Angeles City Council committee Tuesday.
If approved by the full council and signed by the mayor, the law would prevent fast-food chains from opening new restaurants in a 32-square-mile area. The moratorium would be in effect for one year, with the possibility of two six-month extensions.
The measure, proposed by Councilwoman Jan Perry, whose district includes much of South Los Angeles, defines a fast-food restaurant as “any establishment which dispenses food for consumption on or off the premises, and which has the following characteristics: a limited menu, items prepared in advance or prepared or heated quickly, no table orders and food served in disposable wrapping or containers.”