It took a Senate rule change to allow a simple majority vote to defeat procedural hurdles, but Rep. Mel Watt has been confirmed as the new head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Republicans called the veteran North Carolina Democrat too much of a politician to head the regulatory agency and, in the end, just two members of the Grand Old Party voted to confirm him — Rob Portman of Ohio and Richard Burr of North Carolina.

Democrats said Watt’s experience on the House Financial Services Committee makes him qualified to set policies governing the mortgage giants. In a statement, President Obama — who nominated Watt for the position in May — said he’ll be the kind of regulator “to make sure the kind of crisis we just went through never happens again.”

On Monday, the FHFA announced that next year it will once again be hiking the guarantee fees that Fannie and Freddie charge lenders when they buy mortgages in the hopes of reducing their market share. Source:

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