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The House Republican Conference will meet Wednesday afternoon with Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson to iron out differences within their party over how to aid the fast-sinking mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, according to GOP sources.

Republicans are meeting at 4 p.m. today in a conference room in the Capitol basement to discuss a proposed solution by the Bush administration to the mortgage crisis: Authorize the government to extend credit to the two government-sponsored entities over the next 18 months. The plan, which House GOP leaders have complained goes too far and have instead called for hearings on the issue, would also allow the government to purchase an equity interest in the beleaguered companies.

Paulson met earlier in the afternoon with the top four House Republican leaders: Majority Leader John Boehner (Ohio), Minority Whip Roy Blunt (Mo.), Conference Chairman Adam Putnam (Fla.) and Chief Deputy Whip Eric Cantor (Va.).

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