White House lobbies to fill housing finance post

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WASHINGTON (AP) — The White House is stepping up its lobbying for the confirmation of Rep. Mel Watt to head the Federal Housing Finance Agency, a post to which President Barack Obama nominated him nearly six months ago.

Senior White House officials, including chief of staff Denis McDonough, met with housing and financial industry officials Monday to promote Watt’s appointment as a White House priority. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a procedural vote for this week to see whether Watt can overcome Republican objections to his confirmation.

If confirmed, Watt, a North Carolina Democrat, would oversee the government-controlled mortgage lenders Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac just as the industry is beginning a comeback.

The White House says having an FHFA director in place will help promote certainty for the housing industry.

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