Senate Banking set to vote on Castro on Wednesday

Senate Banking set to vote on Castro on Wednesday
© Anne Wernikoff

The Senate Banking Committee next week is expected to approve President Obama’s nominee to oversee the nation’s housing programs.

The panel will vote Wednesday on Julián Castro’s nomination to be secretary of the Department of Housing and Urban Development, where he is expected to play a pivotal role in overhauling the mortgage finance system.

Senators expressed support for the San Antonio mayor moving to Washington to take the helm of the agency during his nomination hearing on Tuesday.

Castro, a rising star in the Democratic party, gained national attention during the Democratic National Convention in 2012.

If approved by the Senate, he would replace Shaun DonovanShaun L. S. DonovanHouse Dems call on OMB to analyze Senate budget plan Overnight Finance: Dems turn up heat on Wells Fargo | New rules for prepaid cards | Justices dig into insider trading law GOP reps warn Obama against quickly finalizing tax rules MORE who had run the department since Obama took office but is moving on to head up the White House’s budget office.

During the hearing earlier this week, Castro said he is open to eliminating government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie.

He didn't back any specific legislative proposals but did say there are better alternatives to the current situation.

The panel recently approved a bill that would remake the housing finance system but it still lacks enough support for a floor vote.

Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.), who is a leading proponent of housing finance legislation said he would support Castro’s nomination.

"You will be involved in what happens with Freddie and Fannie," Corker said.  

The panel also will vote on Laura Wertheimer to be inspector general of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.