Confirmation Hearing For FHFA Nominee Mel Watt

The Senate Banking Committee is scheduled to hold a confirmation hearing for North Carolina Congressman Mel Watt, President Obama's pick to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), on Thursday, June 27.

If confirmed, Watt would replace Edward J. DeMarco, the current head of the FHFA – however, Watt has a tough fight ahead to get the votes he needs in order to be confirmed.

The Democratic congressman's record for assistance to struggling homeowners has put him at odds with Senate Republicans, whose votes he will need to win the seat.

Republicans have already made it clear that they do not like Obama's choice, with some saying Watt lacks skills needed to oversee the FHFA. Due to the strong opposition, Watt will likely need 60 votes, as opposed to a simple majority of the 100-seat Senate, in order to win the confirmation. With 41 Republicans in the Senate, that will be difficult to achieve.

If the nomination fails, White House Democrats will likely take the opportunity to portray Republicans as obstructionists. President Obama's first nominee for FHFA chief, Joseph Smith, ultimately withdrew from consideration after relentless criticism and pushback from conservatives.

Meanwhile, Democrats have assailed DeMarco for failing to adopt anti-foreclosure policies to help reduce mortgage debt for borrowers – something that Watt has pledged to do, if confirmed.

No word yet on when the full Senate would vote on Watt's confirmation.


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