Quick OK pushed for mortgage boss
WASHINGTON — Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., will receive a major test this week in his potential confirmation to lead the agency that oversees the quasi-government titans of mortgage finance, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
Calling it a top White House priority, chief of staff Denis McDonough and other senior administration officials met with housing and financial industry leaders on Monday to ask for their assistance in pressing the Senate to quickly confirm the Charlotte congressman.
Watt was a controversial pick for the job. It's been almost six months since his nomination with little progress on confirmation.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said on Fox News that he plans to hold up all Senate appointments until the administration answers more questions about the Benghazi attack in September 2012.
But Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., filed a cloture motion to try to force a vote on Watt's nomination. Watt will receive a procedural test that requires 60 votes to proceed to a final vote.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson, D-S.D., pledged his support for Watt after Reid filed for cloture.
But many Republicans oppose the nomination of the career politician.
Watt is a senior member of the House Financial Services Committee, but he has never worked in banking or finance.