Republicans block Obama's nominee for head of Fannie, Freddie regulator

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Senate Republicans have raised the ire of Democrats by blocking consideration of President Obama’s nomination of Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency, which oversees Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. Republicans have criticized the Virginia Democrat’s past support for Fannie and Freddie and his qualifications for the job, Bloomberg reports.

In a statement, National Low Income Housing Coalition President and CEO Sheila Crowley said “The arguments opposing Mr. Watt’s confirmation were shallow and imprecise, suggesting that the party-line vote (56-42, with only two Republicans voting to hold a debate on Watt’s nomination) was politically motivated.”

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy has warned that “If Republicans are going to hold nominees hostage without consideration of individual merit, we will have drastic measures.” Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has threatened to change the rules on some nominations so that they only need a simple majority of 51 votes. Source: bloomberg.com.