Senate Banking easily approves Castro's nomination for HUD post

The Senate Banking Committee on Wednesday easily approved President Obama’s nominee to head up the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

The panel voted 16-6 to send Julián Castro’s nomination to be secretary of HUD to the Senate floor.

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The six senators opposing the nomination were all Republicans — ranking member Mike Crapo (Idaho), David Vitter (La.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Mark Kirk (Ill.), Jerry Moran (Kansas) and Tom Coburn (Okla.).

If he is confirmed by the Senate, Castro will play a central role in overhauling the mortgage finance system, an effort that is being led by a bipartisan group of lawmakers on the committee. 

Castro has said he is open to eliminating government-controlled mortgage giants Fannie and Freddie, which is a central tenet of the bill crafted by Crapo and panel Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.).

The committee sent their Johnson-Crapo measure to the floor last month but it still lacks enough support for a vote.

Castro has been a rising star in the Democratic party since his speech during the Democratic National Convention two years ago.

If approved by the Senate, the San Antonio mayor would replace Shaun Donovan who had run the department since Obama took office but is moving on to head up the White House’s budget office.

Donovan's nomination to head up the Office of Management and Budget was approved by the Senate Budget Committee on Tuesday by a 15-6 vote.