President Obama on Tuesday hailed the Senate vote confirming Rep. Mel Watt, D-N.C., to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, calling him the “right regulator” to prevent another housing crisis.
“Seven months ago, I nominated Mel to lead the agency charged with looking out for hardworking families by enforcing rules of the road for the mortgage industry. And today, he’s finally been confirmed to do that job,” said Obama in a statement.
“He’s the right person to protect Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day, and he’ll be the right regulator to make sure the kind of crisis we just went through never happens again,” he added.
Watt was confirmed on a 57-41 vote earlier Tuesday.
The door to his confirmation was opened last month when Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., triggered the so-called “nuclear option,” changing the upper chamber’s filibuster rules and preventing the GOP from blocking Obama nominees for positions other than to the Supreme Court.
Efforts to move Watt and a trio of judicial bench nominees had faltered before Reid led Democrats in passing the rule change.
Obama touted the administration’s policies to stabilize the housing market, saying that it is “steadily healing” and said Watt would continue that work.
“Home values and sales are rising. Construction is up, foreclosures are down, and millions of families have come out from underwater on their mortgages,” said Obama.
“Earlier this year, I laid out my strategy to help more middle-class families buy a home, offer more relief to responsible homeowners, and more options for families who aren’t yet ready to buy,” he added.