The Senate Judiciary Committee has approved a bill that would clarify the authority of the U.S. bankruptcy courts to run mediation programs that facilitate negotiations between struggling homeowners and servicers to prevent foreclosures.The committee passed the measure on a 10-8 party-line vote. With all eight Republicans voting against it, it is unlikely the bill, sponsored by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, D-R.I., will ever reach the floor of the Senate.

Banking and mortgage industry groups oppose the bill (S.222).

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