Mel Watt, the Next Federal Housing Finance Agency Director?

Banker Resource
October 30, 2013 — 1,489 views  
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The process to end the debate regarding the appointment of Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C. as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency has been started by Senate Leader Harry Reid. President Obama had previously nominated Mel Watt to the position to take over the post held by acting director Edward DeMarco since 2009.

Mel Watt (D-N.C.)

Mel Watt has been a United States representative since January 1993 and has become well known as one of the most liberal Democrats. Watts has made his name as a staunch and firm leader for minority rights. He was the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus and represents North Carolina’s 12th district. Watt has served for almost two decades in office where he has voted for women’s reproductive rights, equal pay, increase in funds towards early education and legislation for anti-discriminatory employment. He has opposed bills that include the death penalty and is against legislation that is based on faith. He is also a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee.

Even though President Obama had named Mel Watt for the position in May, the process was delayed and hindered over a long period of time which led to an indefinite postponement of the appointment. The main reason for this languished nomination was the lack of support for Watt by a few Republicans. They proclaimed concerns against appointing a politician for the job as it could be better held by someone with more technical knowledge and industry experience.

Recent Progress

A vote that would essentially stop debate over the matter could be held very soon. Such a procedure would require 60 votes, which means that the Democrats would require six Republicans to join them. Senator Tim Johnson, chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, remarked on how there was no legitimate reason as to why Mel Watt should not be selected as the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency. He also stated how it was important that role be filled quickly as the agency was needed to assist in stabilizing the housing market while it recovered from the recent financial crisis. The White House was mounting a final push to help get the lawmaker nomination through the Senate. According to press reports, this process included meeting with leading officials from the banking, housing and financial industry to discuss the importance of confirming Watt for the position.

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