Watt expected to get through Banking panel on a party-line vote

While Corker called the North Carolina Democrat "a nice guy," he said the job needs more of a technocrat or even a "Democratic technocrat" to oversee not only FHFA's $5 trillion in assets but the implementation of any legislation passed by Congress to overhaul the government-controlled entities. 

Once Watt emerges from the committee, Corker said he wasn't sure what would happen on the filibuster front, a bit of a hot topic in the Senate in recent days. 

Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) argued that Watt has "deep background" in the banking arena but acknowledged that while he will be approved in committee, his nomination is an "early test to see whether new and improved Senate" is working. 

During Tuesday's hearing, Banking panel ranking member Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) called the job to head FHFA "a unique position that requires very specific expertise." 

"It's not a reflection of Watt's long and successful career in Congress," Crapo said, echoing Corker's sentiments. 

The key though for Republicans is that any nominee must be "politically independent" and have policy expertise, Crapo said. 

Republicans have charged the Obama nominated Watt because he may be willing to provide principal reductions for some homeowners, an effort that current acting director Edward DeMarco has refused to do. 

The panel had to delay a scheduled Tuesday vote on Watt's and several other nominations until Thursday because the committee did not have enough members on hand to vote. 

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