Lawmakers have backed a $15 billion aid package for municipalities so they can buy and fix up foreclosed homes, the Wall Street Journal reports. A House panel voted 38-26 for the measure, which would be split evenly between loans and grants. States could use the money to get vacated homes in shape and filled quickly. It's part of a larger relief measure making its way through the House.
"Cities are being badly hurt and this is the only vehicle proposed that goes to the aid of the cities and counties," said panel chairman Barney Frank. But a Republican politician warned that the bill encourages foreclosure. "The bill's ultimate beneficiaries are likely to be the lenders, investors, and speculators who own the properties," he said. (Read more foreclosures stories.)