The U.S. Senate on Saturday passed the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008, a bill that would stem foreclosures by allowing some 400,000 homeowners to refinance into affordable, government-backed loans.

The bill passed by a margin of 72-13. The House of Representatives approved the bill last week in a 272-15 vote.

If passed into law, the program will begin Oct. 1 and end Sept. 30, 2011.

Source: Associated Press, Wall Street Journal, National Association of Realtors