Club for Growth urges 'no' vote on Watt for FHFA

Watt was narrowly approved by the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday. The 12 to 10 vote fell down strict party lines, and the contentious nominee could prove to be an early test to see if the recent accord struck between Senate Republicans and Democrats to move forward on several stalled nominees will carry forward to future picks.

While Republicans on the panel have questioned whether Watt has the technical expertise to manage the multi-trillion dollar portfolios held by Fannie and Freddie, the Club for Growth keyed in on Watt's policy positions when it comes to housing in announcing their opposition.

The group cited Watt's past support for principal reduction programs, generous refinancing programs, and other policies as reasons to block him. Watt was probed on these policies and others during his confirmation hearing, and he did not rule out employing them if confirmed, saying only he would deliberately consider each step before taking action.

"The correct course of action, including putting this nomination aside, is to privatize Fannie and Freddie and shut down the FHFA," said Andy Roth, the group's vice president of government affairs.

Edward DeMarco, the acting director of the FHFA, has come under fierce criticism from liberals, who contend that he has stymied such efforts to assist homeowners in the past, and have actively called for him to be removed by the White House.