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Senate panel’s vote on Watt is postponed

By Lindsay Wise
McClatchy Washington Bureau

WASHINGTON A Senate panel on Tuesday postponed a vote to advance the nomination of U.S. Rep. Mel Watt, D-Charlotte, as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

The Senate banking committee did not reach a quorum, meaning there weren’t enough members present. A vote on recommending Watt is expected to be rescheduled for later this week.

Many Republicans oppose Watt’s nomination, arguing that the former chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus is a career politician who doesn’t have the private-sector experience necessary for the post. The Federal Housing Finance Agency oversees mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Watt may pass the Democratic-led committee, but his prospects in the full Senate are less certain.

In 2010, the GOP threatened to filibuster another nominee for the same job. Banking regulator Joseph Smith Jr., also from North Carolina, eventually withdrew amid the controversy.

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