WASHINGTON (12/11/13)--Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) has been confirmed by a 57 to 41 vote in the U.S. Senate to become the director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
Earlier in the day, the Senate approved a series of procedural votes that cleared the way for the final approval of Watt's nomination.
The Obama administration's success in getting its nominee for FHFA director through the confirmation process owes a nod to the recent changes in the Senate's filibuster rules.
The chamber voted a reported 57-49 to move Obama's FHFA choice forward. Prior to the filibuster rule changes, it would have required 60 votes to move ahead—a near impossibility in Watt's case where support and opposition were clearly delineated along party lines.
Watt was nominated by President Barack Obama in May. Watt has served in the U.S. Congress since 1992, and is a veteran member of the House Financial Services Committee. If confirmed by the Senate, he would replace FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco, who has led that agency since Sept. 1, 2009.