Roll Call: Latest News on Capitol Hill, Congress, Politics and Elections
August 4, 2015

‘Nuclear Option’ to Power Watt to Confirmation

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.

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