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Prospects Dim For U.S. Senate Housing Bill As Panel Postpones Votes

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WASHINGTON, April 29 (Reuters) - The already dim prospects for a bill to wind down taxpayer-owned mortgage financiers Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac grew darker on Tuesday, as a U.S. Senate committee adjourned a meeting on the bill without holding any votes.

The decision to delay a vote on the measure reflects the difficulty the panel's leaders are having rounding up the broad backing that would be needed for the measure to be scheduled for consideration by the full Senate.

"There continue to be important discussions to build a larger coalition supporting the bill," Committee Chairman Tim Johnson said.

Johnson said the committee had the votes needed to pass the bill, but some members had asked for a "brief delay to try to work out additional issues prior to a final vote."

Johnson, a Democrat, and the panel's leading Republican, Mike Crapo, have been trying to thread a needle to win support from Democrats worried about loan availability and Republicans wary of government involvement in the market.

They wanted to secure at least 16 "yes" votes on the 22-member panel to pressureSenate Majority Leader Harry Reid to let the measure come up on the Senate floor. Reid, a Democrat, has opposed legislation to get rid of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

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