Thank you to everyone who reached out to their Senators and urged an up/down vote on the nomination of Representative Mel Watt (D-NC) as the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Unfortunately, the Senate voted 56-42 to oppose cloture, the limiting of debate that would have moved the up/down vote forward. This means that the Senate is not able to vote on the nomination itself. The FHFA regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and its role in the housing choices of all Americans cannot be overstated. Only two Republicans, Senators Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rob Portman (R-OH), joined Senate Democrats and Independents to support having an up/down vote on President Obama’s nominee. During the vote on cloture, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) switched his vote from a “yes” to a “no,” which allows him to submit a motion to reconsider the vote at any time. It is unclear if, when, and under what circumstances a vote on Mr. Watt’s nomination would be reconsidered. Please read the next Memo to Members for more details on the vote and FHFA’s future leadership. Please express to your Senators your thanks or your disappointment in their vote today, the first time since 1843 that a sitting member of Congress has been rejected for a Cabinet-level position by the Senate.
The Government Accountability Office (GAO) released Affordable Housing: Improvements Needed in HUD’s Oversight of the Housing Trust Fund Program (GAO-23-105370) on August 8. The GAO report provides…August 14, 2023