Republicans shoot down Obama's FHFA pick

by MPA01 Nov 2013

Republicans have blocked the appointment of President Barack Obama's pick to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Senate Republicans led the charge to block the confirmation of North Carolina Democrat Mel Watt to lead the FHFA, Bloomberg has reported. The effort to stymie the Obama Administration's pick saw a 56-42 vote, four short of the 60 needed to move the nomination to a final debate and floor vote.

Watt would have replaced acting director Edward DeMarco. Republican lawmakers opposed Watt's nomination, saying the president should have chosen someone with a background in the mortgage finance markets rather than a politician.

The move is likely to come as a disappointment to some in the industry, with the Mortgage Bankers Association earlier this week urging Republicans to confirm Watt.

“Congressman Watt would bring considerable experience to the post of director. His two decades of work on the House Financial Services Committee gives him a strong base of understanding on a wide variety of public policy issues related to housing finance,” said MBA Chairman E.J. Burke. “This familiarity and understanding would serve him well in this new position.”

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