By Vicki Needham and Ramsey Cox - 12/11/13 08:13 AM EST
The Senate voted 57-41 Tuesday to confirm Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) as the top regulator tasked with overseeing an overhaul of the housing finance system.
Watt, who lost his confirmation bid the first time around in October, made it through Tuesday — making him the next director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Senate Democrats unilaterally changed the filibuster rules last month, allowing a simple-majority to end debate on Watt’s nomination.
Despite serving in the House for 20 years, Republicans argued that Watt is not qualified to become regulator of mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which are government controlled and dominate the mortgage market.
They said that the agency needs a nonpolitical technocrat who can delve into the complexity of mortgage finance at the independent agency.