Congress sends mortgage bailout to Bush

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In a similar move Friday, Republicans also blocked a Democratic bill designed to curb excessive speculation in the oil futures market, which many specialists say has contributed to the rising gas prices.

“Voting to move to another bill without doing anything about $4 per gallon gas prices would be tantamount to giving up on struggling Americans,” said Sen. Lamar Alexander, Tennessee Republican. “The best way to fight both high gas prices and high home heating and cooling costs is with a serious, bipartisan energy bill.”

But Mr. Reid said Republican accusations that he has refused to allow a vote on drilling are false, saying Republicans could have attached a drilling amendment to the anti-speculation bill.

“When we offered Republicans a vote on the very thing they claim to want more than anything - offshore drilling - they said no,” Mr. Reid said.

Senate Democratic leaders had hoped to finish the housing bill Friday, but Mr. DeMint held up a final vote until Saturday, demanding that Democrats allow a vote on barring Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac from lobbying and making political contributions.

“Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have built the biggest political machine in Washington to protect themselves from reform and oversight, but Democrats are determined to keep the political donations flowing to their campaigns,” Mr. DeMint said. “This is politics at its worst.”

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