Senate Adjourns Without Confirming FHFA Head

The Senate has adjourned without confirming North Carolina Bank Commissioner Joseph Smith as head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Reuters reports.

It is possible that President Obama could re-nominate Smith to head the FHFA when the Senate reconvenes Jan. 5, but according to the Reuters report, he will face a tough battle due to Republican opposition.

The top Republican on the Senate Banking Committee, Sen. Richard Shelby, put a ‘hold’ on Smith, who he has called a ‘tool of the Obama administration.’ Under Senate rules, any senator can block presidential nominees for any reason, and 60 votes are needed in the Senate to clear the hurdle.

Shelby had voiced concern that Smith would support mandating that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac write down principal for underwater borrowers who are current on their mortgages, claiming that it would lead to a burden for taxpayers, the Reuters report notes.

SOURCE: Reuters

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