Mortgage relief not likely As many as 2.4M could lose homes due to high payments; government says it can't help with bailout. Tom Petruno and E. Scott Reckard Los Angeles Times Borrowers, don't hold your breath for a bailout. As mortgage delinquencies soar, many consumer advocates and political leaders are calling on government to help what may ultimately be millions of homeowners facing foreclosure. But the federal and state aid proposals advanced so far suggest that most people struggling with onerous loan payments are unlikely to get government assistance. The Bush administration has ruled out a blanket program to help homeowners stave off foreclosure, reasoning that it's "not an appropriate role for the federal government," White House spokesman Tony Fratto said. By one estimate, as many as 2.4 million nationwide could lose their homes because they are unable to make payments on loans, or refinance them. The threat of a foreclosure wave, and the government's limited willingness or ability to respond, could put added pressure on lenders to renegotiate loans that might otherwise end in failure. Sub-prime loans made homeownership possible for millions of American whose credit rating or income made them ineligible for cheaper prime loans. But many of these borrowers cannot make their payments, leading to a surge in defaults and foreclosures. In Washington, Democratic Sens. Hillary Clinton of New York, Christopher Dodd of Connecticut and Barack Obama of Illinois -- all declared presidential candidates -- are among those demanding government action. "We cannot sit on the sidelines while increasing numbers of Americans lose their homes," Obama said in a recent letter to Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson Jr. and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke. But none of the three Democrats has offered more than general ideas for aiding borrowers, and none has called for a massive federal assistance program. "Dodd has been extremely clear that he is not talking about any kind of bailout," said a spokesman in Washington.