WASHINGTON (11/1/13)--Rep. Mel Watt's (D-N.C.) bid to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency was blocked in the U.S. Senate Thursday after a motion to end debate on his nomination failed with a vote of 56 to 42, mostly along party lines.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) filed a cloture motion on Watt's nomination on Monday. Sixty "yes" votes would have ended debate and allowed Watt's nomination to proceed for a final Senate vote.
Senate Banking Committee Chairman Tim Johnson (D-S.D.), after the Thursday vote, said "this is not the end for Congressman Watt's nomination," and added that he would continue to fight to see that Watt is confirmed. The nomination could be brought up again if Senate leadership feels they have the votes needed to pass it, Credit Union National Association Senior Vice President of Legislative Affairs Ryan Donovan said.
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.
Obama in 2011 nominated former North Carolina bank commissioner Joseph Smith to serve as full-time director, but that nomination was not confirmed.