WASHINGTON - House lawmakers, in letters to federal regulators and legislation expected to be introduced today, are making a major push to help the municipal market, particularly for short-term instruments that issuers have struggled to sell.

Reps. Michael Capuano and House Financial Services Committee chairman Barney Frank, both Massachusetts Democrats, along with 25 other congressmen sent a letter to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke and Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner Friday calling for the establishment of a temporary backstop for the $500 billion variable rate demand obligation market as well as other short-term paper.

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