Mel Watt: 'I remain humbled' after U.S. Senate confirmation - WNCN: News, Weather

Mel Watt: 'I remain humbled' after U.S. Senate confirmation

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WASHINGTON (AP) -

Democrats have taken advantage of their weakening of filibusters and muscled through the Senate President Barack Obama's pick to lead a housing regulation agency.

By 57-41 Tuesday, senators confirmed Rep. Mel Watt to lead the Federal Housing Finance Agency.

Obama nominated the North Carolina Democrat in May but he's been in limbo ever since. Republicans have said he's not qualified, while Democrats say the 21-year House veteran has the needed experience.

"Seven months ago, I nominated Mel to lead the agency charged with looking out for hardworking families by enforcing rules of the road for the mortgage industry," President Barack Obama said in a statement after Watt was confirmed. "And today, he's finally been confirmed to do that job."

Until Tuesday, Watt's nomination was blocked because Democrats needed 60 Senate votes to end a GOP filibuster. But last month, the chamber's majority Democrats lowered that threshold to a simple majority.

Congressman Mel Watt issued a statement following the vote. 

"I remain humbled by President Obama's nomination and am honored that the United States Senate has voted to confirm me as Director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency," Watt said. "I look forward to serving in this position of trust and to working to insure that the statutory responsibilities of this agency are faithfully executed."

"Mel comes from humble roots.  He's represented the people of North Carolina in Congress for 20 years," President Obama continued. "He's the right person to protect Americans who work hard and play by the rules every day, and he'll be the right regulator to make sure the kind of crisis we just went through never happens again.  I thank the Senate for confirming his nomination, and I look forward to Mel's work on behalf of the American people.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. 

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