With its bailouts of Bear Stearns and American International Group, the Federal Reserve took a vast portfolio of mortgages onto its books. Now, it is trying to use its control of billions of dollars worth of home loans to help prevent foreclosures.

The Fed will seek to renegotiate mortgages it owns that might otherwise enter foreclosure, Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told congressional leaders in a letter yesterday. The decision won praise from congressional Democrats, who took it as a sign that the central bank's leaders are cooperating with efforts to use government power to try to stem the number of foreclosures.

Washington Post