The White House stepped up its push for Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA).
With a close confirmation vote expected, Obama administration officials held a call with reporters Wednesday to voice their strong belief that Watt is the man for the job.
“Bottom line: Confirming Mel Watt would be good for the housing market, the economy, and our nation,” said Shaun Donovan, secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. “These are goals that should be shared by members of Congress from all political backgrounds.”
Donovan was joined on the call by Gene Sperling, director of the National Economic Council.
“There is simply no reason for anyone to be opposing Mel Watt,” Sperling said. “No one has given a good or credible reason for opposing or filibustering Mel Watt. It’s almost unprecedented for a sitting member of Congress to be filibustered.”
Rep. Watt, a North Carolina democrat, needs 60 votes to bypass Republican opposition. A vote is expected this week or soon after, and observers believe it will be extremely close.
If confirmed, Watt would lead the agency that oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Donovan noted that the nominee has more than 20 years on the House financial services and judiciary committees as well as track record of expanding affordable housing and protecting consumers from abusive finance products and practices.