Senate Approves Mel Watt as Director of Housing Finance Agency


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Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images (WASHINGTON) — The Senate confirmed Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., as the next director of Federal Housing Finance Agency Tuesday night.
The Senate voted 57-41 to confirm Watt, who president Obama nominated in May.
Watt’s confirmation was previously blocked by a Republican filibuster, but became the second nominee to be confirmed under a new rule which allows for cloture to be invoked on most of the president’s nominees with only 51 votes.

Watt is the second of Obama’s nominees to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency (which supervises Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac) after North Carolina banking regulator Joseph Smith withdrew from consideration. Watt is the only sitting member of Congress to have been filibustered since Reconstruction. Many think that was because Watt would arguably make it easier for homeowners to refinance their home loans, which acting agency head Ed DeMarco has been more reluctant to do.
The Senate now heads into a series of procedural votes on the nomination of Nina Pillard to be a U.S. Circuit Judge for the D.C. Circuit Court of appeals.

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