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By Steven Dennis Posted at 12:43 p.m. on Nov. 21, 2013
Senate Democrats’ decision to invoke the “nuclear option” Thursday against filibusters of some nominations clears the way for Rep. Melvin Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The North Carolina Democrat, believed to be the first sitting member of Congress blocked for a nomination since before the Civil War earlier this year, will have broad powers to oversee trillions of dollars in home finance for millions of people at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. The administration has long sought to expand refinancing options and other relief for homeowners, but has been stymied by FHFA Acting Director Edward J. DeMarco.
Watt’s case also has been pushed repeatedly by the Congressional Black Caucus.
If Watt is confirmed, there will be a special election to fill his seat.
Niels Lesniewski has covered the Senate for CQ Roll Call since January 2010, and more recently as a staff writer and resident procedure guru for Roll Call. Niels holds degrees in both government and theater but sometimes can't tell the difference between the two. @nielslesniewski
Matthew Fleming covers Senate leadership for Roll Call. Prior to joining the team in April 2015, Matthew covered government and politics for the Orange County Register. Matthew studied journalism at the University of Maryland and grew up in Northern Virginia. @mflemingsenate