Thirty-nine Republicans, many from districts hardest hit by the subprime mortgage crisis, bucked their leadership in voting with Democrats for the plan, which passed the House by a vote of 266 to 154.
"We have a housing crisis in Ohio," says Rep. Steven LaTourette (R) of Ohio, who worked with Democrats on the plan. "As a loyal Republican, I'd like to be supporting Republican legislation, but it wasn't bold action. Chairman Frank is taking bold action."
"When I go home and talk to crowds, they want something accomplished," he adds. "When losing homes and paying $3.77 a gallon for gasoline, they want to know that the government is going to do something – not just hear that 'I've saved you from the nasty Democrats.' "
Despite partisan flare-ups in House floor debate on this bill, lawmakers close to the issue say that negotiations at the committee level have been unusually bipartisan and in good faith.
"It's a philosophical difference; it's not a food fight," says Rep. Spencer Bachus (R) of Alabama, the top Republican on the House Financial Services Committee. "Chairman [Barney] Frank and I have a long history of working together in a bipartisan way. He legitimately believes that foreclosure is bad for a community: It not only affects the homeowner losing his home but also the value of neighbors' property, the crime rate, and the economy of the community."