On December 10, Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) was confirmed to be the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Mr. Watt replaces former Acting Director Edward DeMarco.
“Today, the U.S. Senate confirmed Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) as the new director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, marking a great day for the millions of low income Americans in need of decent, affordable homes,” NLIHC President and CEO Sheila Crowley said in a statement upon Mr. Watt’s confirmation.
Mr. Watt was nominated by President Barack Obama on May 1. However, an October 31 vote to confirm Mr. Watt could not proceed because it lacked the 60 votes that were then needed to prevent a filibuster (see Memo, 11/1). On November 21, the Senate changed its filibuster rules, allowing a simple majority to approve Presidential nominations (see Memo, 11/22). Two Republicans, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rob Portman (R-OH), joined Democrats to confirm Mr. Watt in a 57 to 41 vote.
FHFA regulates government sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 requires Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to make contributions to the National Housing Trust Fund (NHTF). This statutory obligation was suspended when the GSEs were taken into conservatorship. NLIHC is hopeful that as FHFA Director, Mr. Watt will reexamine this decision and will decide to lift the suspensions and begin funding the NHTF.
Read Sheila Crowley’s press statement at: http://nlihc.org/press/releases/3025