Senate Confirms Watt to Head FHFA

The Senate voted 57-41 on Tuesday to confirm Congressman Mel Watt as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), a position that oversees Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Housing Administration.

Earlier today, the Senate also confirmed Patricia Millett – who was filibustered with Watt on October 31 – to serve on the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals. They are the first two nominations to be approved since the Senate voted last month to require a simple majority vote to confirm most nominations.

“This long-awaited confirmation is welcome news to millions of homeowners across the country who need a responsible and vigilant housing regulator,” said Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights. “Congressman Watt is an advocate for struggling homeowners. With 40 years of experience in the housing sector, he has the depth of knowledge to grasp the problems that plague Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the skills to work with all stakeholders to right the housing market.”

President Obama nominated Watt to the post in May before the Senate blocked his nomination, making him the first sitting member of Congress to be filibustered since before the Civil War.

“We applaud the Senate for confirming Congressman Watt today and call for timely consideration of the other judicial and executive nominees who are awaiting floor votes,” Henderson said.