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The Obama administration, which has been under fire for not developing a concrete plan for mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, says it will hold a conference next month to discuss their future.

The administration said Tuesday the event will be held Aug. 17 at the Treasury Department.

The financial overhaul signed by President Obama didn’t address their future, despite protest from Republicans that the reform was incomplete without a plan for the two companies. The Obama administration has said it wants to wait until next year to determine the future of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

So far, stabilizing the pair of mortgage buyers has cost taxpayers $145 billion.

The government created the two companies as a hybrid of private company and federal agency to help make mortgages available. They buy home loans from lenders, package them into bonds with a guarantee against default and sell them to investors.

They own or guarantee about half of all U.S. mortgages, or nearly 31 million home loans worth at least $5 trillion.

FBI

Director defends monitoring rules

The FBI is vigorously defending its domestic surveillance guidelines, which are under fire from civil liberties and Muslim groups arguing that people not involved in crime or terrorism could be unfairly targeted for investigation.

On the eve of congressional testimony by FBI Director Robert Mueller, the bureau says that its procedures are designed to ensure that FBI probes don’t zero in on anyone on the basis of race, ethnicity, religion or the exercise of any other constitutional right.

The FBI says its Domestic Investigations and Operations Guide equips agents with lawful and appropriate tools so the agency can transform itself into an intelligence-driven organization that investigates genuine criminal and national security threats.

WHITE HOUSE

Obama urges OK of business boost

President Obama is calling on Congress to pass legislation that he says will help small businesses grow and hire again.

A measure emerging in the Senate would create a new lending fund to help community banks offer loans. Mr. Obama urged lawmakers not to block the initiative and hold the public hostage to Washington politics.

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