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Obama to Announce Housing Plan, Raise Campaign Funds

U.S. President Barack Obama will announce a new program to boost the stagnant U.S. housing market, as he begins a campaign-style tour of three Western states.

Mr. Obama travels to the city of Las Vegas, Nevada, one of the most severely depressed real-estate markets in the country. After meeting local residents, he is to speak about a plan by federal regulators to help homeowners lower their mortgage payments to avoid foreclosures. The plan does not require congressional approval.

Officials say the plan by the Federal Housing Finance Agency will make it easier for borrowers to switch to cheaper interest rates even if they owe far more on their home loans than the properties are worth. The agency also plans to waive some fees charged by mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The Obama administration hopes that helping homeowners avoid foreclosures will encourage consumer spending and revive the economic recovery.

Mr. Obama also will use his three-day trip to Nevada, California and Colorado to raise money for his 2012 re-election campaign.

He will attend fundraisers in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Denver. Republicans accused the president of focussing more on fundraising than helping the unemployed. The U.S. jobless rate has remained at nine percent or higher for much of this year.

The White House says Mr. Obama will announce a plan to help students repay federal college loans during his stop in Denver, Colorado.

Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.