WASHINGTON — Ending several weeks of political wrangling betweenthe Senate Democrats and Republicans, the Senate on Wednesday nightconfirmed Small Business Administration Administrator Steven C.Preston to be secretary of housing and urban development.

Preston will be the Bush administration's point person duringupcoming discussions aimed at reaching agreement on a legislativepackage aimed at providing relief to people effected by thesubprime mortgage crisis. The House, Senate and White House haveoffered different proposals for how to insure up to $300 billion inrefinanced mortgages.

The House passed a measure last month as did the Senate BankingCommittee. The full Senate could take up a measure as early as nextweek.

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