Mel Watt Nomination To Head The Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Denied By Procedural Vote In U.S. Senate
NOT SINCE BEFORE THE CIVIL WAR HAS A MEMBER OF CONGRESS BEEN DENIED A SEAT IN THE PRESIDENT’S CABINET BY A VOTE OF THE FULL U.S. SENATE.
By a vote of 56 yeas to 42 nays, the United States Senate failed to invoke cloture – thus ending debate on the subject and moving forward to a final vote – on the confirmation of Congressman Melvin “Mel” Watt (NC) to serve as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Because 60 votes are needed to invoke cloture the nomination cannot move forward. Congressman Watt’s nomination had the strong support of the civil rights community, national real estate, bankers and builders associations, and consumer groups. Not since 1843 has a Member of Congress been denied a seat in the President’s cabinet by a vote of the full U.S. Senate.
The NAACP is outraged by the vote. With over 40 years of experience in the housing and financial services arenas including 20, Congressman Watt would have served the nation exceptionally well. Furthermore, as Chair of the Congressional Black Caucus from 2005 – 2006, Congressman Watt proved himself extremely adept at forging coalitions and promoting the interests of all Americans, including racial and ethnic minority Americans, with the reauthorization, in 2006, of the Voting Rights Act. As a member of the House Financial Services and Judiciary Committees for the past 20 years, Congressman Watt has been a fierce advocate for struggling homeowners; he has the depth to grasp the problems that plague Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and lead to the housing crisis which still curses too many of our communities while working to stop predatory lenders; and has the skills to work with everyone involved to get the housing sector back on track.