WASHINGTON - Rep. Jim Himes, a freshman Democrat from Connecticut who sits on the House Financial Services Committee, says he knows through first-hand experience why a short-term federal reinsurance program for municipal bonds is "urgently needed."Himes, who helped draft legislation that would authorize the creation of such a program, said that several municipal issuers in his district and across the country, especially lower rated municipalities and nonprofits, are delaying capital projects because they have been unable to secure credit enhancement on their bonds.

"You've got this de-stimulus out there," Himes said in an interview last week. "Lots of very good credits are not undertaking capital projects that they would love to undertake, at a time when construction costs and commodities are relatively inexpensive, because of this vapor-lock in the market."

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