Steve Preston, secretary of Housing and Urban Development, is blaming Congress for the failure of the government's main effort to help homeowners. The federal program has attracted 312 applications since its launch a couple months ago because it is too cumbersome and expensive for borrowers as well as lenders, Mr. Preston said. "What most people don't understand is that this program was designed to the detail by Congress," Mr. Preston said. "Congress dotted the i's and crossed the t's for us, and unfortunately it has made this program tough to use."

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