Monday, October 28, 2013

Confirm Representative Mel Watt as Director of the FHFA

We want a vote as soon as possible on the nomination of Mel Watt to be the regulator of taxpayer owned mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.  The nation needs Rep. Watt’s talents and leadership at the FHFA. We urge the Senate to vote to confirm him.

Republican opposition has left his nomination in limbo for months. Fortunately, on Monday, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid filed cloture on the nomination, setting up a vote later this week.  Democrats will need 60 votes to shut off debate and move to a vote on the Watt nomination.

Watt faces a time crunch because if he feels his nomination is a lost cause and wants to run for reelection the filing deadline in North Carolina is Feb. 28. As a sitting Member of Congress, Watt deserves the courtesy of an up-or-down vote.

Mel Watt

Rep. Watt is highly qualified to head the FHFA. He brings 40 years of experience in housing and finance to the position of FHFA Director. As a 20-year member of the House Financial Services Committee, and a member of the Subcommittees on Capital Markets and Government Sponsored Enterprises and Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit, he oversees housing, banking, insurance and other financial services matters.

In addition to his public service as a Member of Congress, Mr. Watt, a graduate of Yale Law School, spent more than 20 years practicing law in North Carolina with a particular focus on business and real estate law. Further, he was a former small business owner who understands both the practical and policy aspects of access to credit issues.

Rep. Watt was one of the first Members of Congress to speak out against the predatory mortgage lending practices that characterized the boom in subprime lending, and that eventually contributed to widespread economic devastation. Rep. Watt rightly led the push for legislation that would have required safety, soundness, and fairness to prevail over the blind rush for short-term profits.  (Politico, 10/28/2013)

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