The Senate’s role in presidential nominations is usually described as “advise and consent,” not “obstruct and prevent.” And yet, continuing their extreme break with past Senatorial traditions and practice, Senate Republicans rejected another Presidential nomination on Thursday. Even so-called “moderate” Republicans like Susan Collins of Maine turned their back on civility and good government by refusing to break a filibuster against Rep. Mel Watt’s nomination to head of the Federal Housing Finance Agency.
The President has chosen Rep. Watt to replace Bush appointee Edward DeMarco at the FHFA, and Republicans are refusing to even allow a vote on his nomination. The FHFA is responsible for lending giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, which the government was forced to bail out after the privatization of these enterprises turned out to be a disaster. As the Los Angeles Times reported, Republicans are afraid that Rep. Watt might “take more aggressive steps to help the housing market, such as reducing principal on mortgages.”
That would cut into Wall Street’s profits. As the old saying goes: Follow the money.
There’s no disputing the fact that Barack Obama won the Presidency twice and is currently in his fifth year of Oval Office occupancy. He can hardly be accused of being in an unseemly rush if, after all this time, he prefers to have his own appointee rather than his predecessor’s serving in a position of financial significance.
Watt’s appointment, like a number of others, is being held up because the Republican Party is refusing to accept the outcome of two national elections.