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Obama nominates Rep. Mel Watt to head FHFA

Mel Watt

Mel Watt

President Obama nominated Rep. Mel Watt (D-N.C.) on Wednesday to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, replacing current FHFA Acting Director Edward DeMarco.

Watt is a longtime congressmen and has significant support from Democrats in both the House and Senate. Many Democrats have called for DeMarco’s resignation due to his opposition to plans for partial mortgage debt forgiveness, which Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) pointed to as “cold indifference,” according to The Foundry.

“Mel understands as well as anybody what caused the housing crisis,” Obama said, USA Today reports. “He knows what it’s going to take to help responsible homeowners fully recover.”

While DeMarco has defended his position against debt forgiveness as protecting consumers and reducing risk to U.S. taxpayers, Watt has been a proponent of increased government involvement in the housing market, according to The Foundry.

Since the collapse of the housing market, Watt has expressed continued support for a plan to use Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to interfere in the U.S. housing market, and in 2008, Watt voted in support of a measure to permit the government’s intervention in the state purchases of foreclosed homes.

“Throughout his decades long career in Congress he was known for getting results by working with colleagues, consumer advocates and industry leaders,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson said. “Mel possesses the intelligence, temperament and depth of knowledge on housing finance policy necessary to succeed as director.  I thank him for his willingness and courage to face this challenge head on, and I look forward to moving his nomination expeditiously.”

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